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12 Maharashtra farmers’ outfits to start agitation from today, will block farm supplies to cities

The groups plan to block supplies of farm produce including vegetables, fruits and milk to the cities in order to press their demands

mumbai Updated: Jun 07, 2018 00:22 IST
Faisal Malik
Faisal Malik
Hindustan Times
Maharashtra,Maharashtra farmers,Farmers strike
Many farmers organisations in Maharashtra are striking across the state. (HT Photo)

The farmers’ agitation is likely to intensify in Maharashtra today, with the Akhil Bhartiya Kisaan Sabha (ABKS) and 11 other outfits holding a ‘raasta roko’ at various locations in the state. The groups also plan to block supplies of farm produce including vegetables, fruits and milk to the cities in order to press their demands.

The ABKS has identified 35 locations across state highways where the protests will be held.

“We have decided to intensify our protest by organising ‘raasta roko’ in districts where production of milk is high as dairy farmers are in deep trouble these days. Despite the state government declaring ₹27 per litre as the minimum milk price, dairy farmers are getting only ₹17 per litre,” said Ajit Nawale, general secretary, ABKS.

“We have urged the farmers to join the agitation in full strength by not sending their agriculture produce to the cities from Thursday. The owners of transport vehicles and drivers have also been asked to cooperate for the protest that will be continued till June 10,” he added.

The left-aligned organisation was part of the unprecedented farmers’ strike held last year that forced the state government to declare a farm loan waiver. It also helped organise the Long March of tribal farmers from Nasik to Mumbai, earlier this year.

This agitation will be held as the Rashtriya Kisaan Mahasangh (RKM), another farmers’ outfit, continue to undertake a 10-day countrywide farmers’ strike which started on June 1. So far, the prices of essential produce and supplies to the markets have remained unaffected. However, supplies of essential commodities may get affected with ABKS joining the protest.

The main demands of the agitating farmers include a complete loan waiver, higher minimum support price (MSP) as recommended in the Swaminathan Commission report, free power supply for pumps, and ethanol as an alternative fuel.

ABKS has clarified that the protest will be a peaceful one, without any kind of violence. “Intensifying the protest doesn’t mean we are going to indulge in to any kind of violence during the agitation. No food grains will be thrown or milk will be spilled on streets. Our demonstration and raasto roko will be held in a democratic way,” said Nawale.

On Monday, NCP chief Sharad Pawar came out in support of the agitating farmers, pointing out that the Modi-led government had failed to deliver on the promises made to the agriculturists.

In the run up to 2014 polls, the prime minister had assured farmers market prices of produce that would be 50% above the production cost. This has not been implemented in the last four years, though the budget mentioned that the government will implement it.

Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday, in a rebuttal to Pawar, alleged that the Congress and NCP are trying to instigate farmers against the BJP-led state government. This is allegedly being done by giving tacit support to some farmers’ leaders, he said.

First Published: Jun 07, 2018 00:22 IST