Maharashtra farmers’ outfits restart protest for blanket loan waiver, to march from Nashik to Pune
Mumbai city news: The farmers plan to stage an awareness march, which will start at Nashik and end at Pune on July 23mumbai Updated: Jul 11, 2017 12:34 IST
Farmers’ outfits in Maharashtra on Monday resumed their protest, demanding a blanket loan waiver and implementation of the Swaminathan Commission report, which recommended a minimum support price at levels 50% more than the production cost. The outfits started an awareness rally from Nashik which will cover all major districts before concluding in Pune on July 23.
Farmers’ leaders said that they wanted to create awareness among farmers before a full-fledged agitation.
“The loan waiver is a joke and farmers are very upset with it. The rally is to protest against the government that has been cheating farmers by making false claims,” said Ajit Nawale coordinator of the steering committee of farmers’ outfits.
Raju Shetti, MP and chief of Swabhimani Paksha, said he was unhappy as farmers’ demands (their) were not fulfilled. “It seems the government is in no mood to discuss the issue with farmers, hence we have decided to take our protest ahead,” said Shetti, who was in Nashik to attend the rally. He was joined by other leaders who are part of the national-level farmers’ agitation that was launched on July 6 from Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh.
The awareness march will cover Thane, Palghar and other neighbouring districts on Tuesday. It will cover major districts Konkan, central Maharahastra, Vidarbha, Marathwada and western Maharashtra in the following days, said Raghunath Dada Patil, farmers’ leader.
“After the rally, we will resume our agitation if the government doesn’t accept our demands,” he added.
The farmers’ stand is likely to create more trouble for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led state government, which is already facing financial distress.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on June 24 had announced that the state would write off the loans of 89 lakh farmers, terming this move “historic”. The government has also set a cap of Rs1.5 lakh a farmer — this means the loans of around 40 lakh farmers will be completely written off.
Following opposition, the state government recently extended the scope of the waiver package said any farmer who had taken loan between April 2009 and June 2016 were eligible from the loan waiver. Earlier, the cut-off date was April 2012. Farmers’ outfits and opposition parties, however, have criticised the government over the loan waiver conditions, saying that it would leave a significant number of farmers out of the net.
Farmers went on strike on June 1 for the first time in the history of the state. It was followed by violent protests at many districts, which forced the state government to announce loan waivers.