Farmers’ groups in Maharashtra plans protests over loan waiver mess, power cuts

Farmers to also protest demonetisation and conduct last rite rituals for farmers who committed suicide following the ban on old notes

mumbai Updated: Nov 01, 2017 10:33 IST
Faisal Malik
Faisal Malik
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Maharashtra,Farm loan waiver
Farmers in Maharashtra protested in June demanding loan waiver from the state government.(HT FILE)

Taking an aggressive stand over their blanket loan waiver and other demands, farmers’ outfits in Maharashtra have decided to intensify their agitation against the state government. They plan to lock offices of Maharashtra State Electricity Board (MSEB) across the state as a protest against disconnecting power connections of agriculture pumps for non-payments of bills.

This will be followed by a ‘jail bharo andolan’ after November 10, if their demands are not considered.

Protesting against demonetisation, which will complete a year on November 8, the farmers’ outfits also plan to carry out last rite rituals of farmers, who lost their lives following the note ban.

The decision to up the ante against the government was taken on Tuesday at the steering committee meeting held in Mumbai.

The farmers’ outfits have been demanding a blanket loan waiver and implementation of recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission report on the minimum support price (MSP) for agricultural produce. The report recommends giving farmers 50 per cent in addition to the total input cost as MRP.

Raghunath Dada Patil, veteran farmer leader, said the MSEB has started disconnecting power connections of agriculture pumps for non-payment of bills. “We are opposing the move as the state government has provided Rs20,000 crore as remuneration to the MSEB for providing 18 hours’ power supply to farmers, but the they have been providing us only eight hours of power,” Patil said.

This also means the MSEB still owes farmers money, and thus, we have challenged the move in high court. The court had also directed MSEB not to disconnect power connections until the matter is resolved, Patil said.

The outfits are demanding a hike in MSP for soyabean and other such crops. “We want Rs3500 a quintal as MSP for soyabean. We will throw soyabean, milk and other such agriculture produce outside the collector and tehsildar offices in the state on November 10,” Patil told HT.

Meanwhile, the state unit of the Congress, too, started a state-wide agitation called ‘Jan Aakrosh Andolan’ in Ahmednagar on Tuesday. The party will hold six rallies in six districts during the agitation. It will also observe a ‘black day’ on November 8 as a protest against the demonetisation decision.

While addressing the rally at Ahmednagar, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said the BJP governments in the state and at the Centre are cheating people. “The Jan Aakrosh Andolan will help in dethroning the government,” Azad said.

First Published: Nov 01, 2017 10:33 IST