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Farmers in several Maharashtra districts on strike from Thursday Cities like Mumbai likely face shortage of vegetables and milk

cities Updated: Jun 01, 2017 11:46 IST

Mumbai Cities such as Mumbai and Pune are likely to face a shortage of vegetables, milk and fruits as farmers from several districts in Maharashtra have announced strike from June 1 after talks between chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and their representatives failed on Tuesday. This is probably the first time farmers have resorted to a strike in the state. Distressed over falling prices of agriculture produce and other issues, farmers have demanded a loan waiver and the state government has sought time for deliberation on the issue.

Representatives of Kisan Kranti Morcha, a state-level coordination committee of various farmers’ outfits, met the chief minister at his official residence ‘Varsha’ in Mumbai to discuss the issue, but the talks remained inconclusive as farmers refused to postpone their agitation.

Farmers from Ahmednagar, Pune and Nashik that supply vegetables and milk to Mumbai are likely to participate in the strike. These district also supply of essential commodities to Pune and other cities.

“We want to create shortage of milk and vegetables in the cities to pressurise the state government,” said Jayaji Suryavanshi, a member of the steering committee of the Morcha.

“We will also stop farmers from supplying agriculture produce to any city. We have made certain preparations to achieve this,” Suryavanshi said.

The state government has been under pressure to waive off farm loans since the the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Uttar Pradesh government declared a loan waiver.

Shantaram Kunjir, a farmer leader from Pune, who was part of the delegation, told HT that Fadnavis asked them to postpone the protest, saying that the government needed some time to take any decision. “The chief minister explained his limitations, but we want immediate relief for farmers,” Kunjir said.

He claimed that in Pune district alone farmers from more than 700 villages were ready to go on strike. They would not supply agriculture produce to Mumbai from Thursday, he said.

Loading workers and other unions of the APMC market have also declared their support fro the strike. Similarly, farmers from Nashik voiced their solidarity and vowed not to supply agricultural produce to Gujarat.

In the beginning, the strike will continue for seven days after which Kisan Kranti Morch will decide its future course. “After seven days, we may continue with the strike or come up with a new strategy to continue the protest,” said Suryavanshi, adding farmers from Madhya Pradesh too are going on strike for 20 days from June 1.

20,000 villages likely to join the strike

Of the 40,000 villages in the state, 50% may participate in the strike

From western Maharashtra, 80% of villages are likely to participate in the protest.

Most of agitating farmer are from Ahmednagar, Nashik, Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur, Solapur and Pune which are major vegetables and milk producing districts in the state

Metros such as Mumbai and Pune may have to face a severe shortage of milk and vegetables

Farmers decided to go ahead with the June 1 strike after talks with chief minister Devendra Fadnavis failed

Fadnavis expressed his inability to decalre a farm loan waiver and sought more time to deliberate on the issue

According to one estimate, the Maharashtra government would need Rs30,500 crore to waive off loans of 1.34 crore farmers

First Published: Jun 01, 2017 11:46 IST