(HT Photo)
(HT Photo)

Mumbai’s vegetable and milk supply may take a hit if farmers go on strike in June

The Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh, which has called for the strike, plans to spread the agitation across 130 cities in India
By HT Correspondent | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON MAY 30, 2018 10:48 AM IST

The city may soon face a shortage of vegetables and milk as some farmers’ outfits have announced a ten-day, countrywide strike from Friday, protesting against various policies of the government. But significantly, major farmers’ outfits from the state have not confirmed their participation in it.

The Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh (RKM), which has called for the strike, plans to spread the agitation across 130 cities in India. “Our farmers are in bad shape and we have no other option than to go on a strike. Last year, we believed in the state government and withdrew our agitation, and then realized that we were cheated,” said Sandeep Gidde Patil, core committee member, RKM.

Their list of demands includes a total loan waiver, implementation of the Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations for the agriculture sector, free power supply for pumps and backing ethanol as an alternative fuel.

However there appears to be disunity among farmers’ outfits on the subject of this agitation. The Sukanu Samiti — an outfit of 30 farmers’ groups that launched an agitation against the Maharashtra government last year and got it to announce a loan waiver last year — said they will not participate in this strike led by the RKM.

“The RKM does not have any base in the state and even the farmers are unaware of any such strike,” said Vishwas Utgi, core committee member, Sukanu Samiti. “Our agitation will start from June 12 and we will gherao the Mantralaya also.”

Even the Member of Parliament and farmer leader Raju Shetti’s Swabhimaan Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS) said it would not join in with the RKM’s strike.

If they all do decide to join hands in the end, it could be a repeat of the 2017 farmers’ agitation when Mumbai faced an unprecedented shortage of vegetables and milk.

In the last few years, farmers across the state have been facing host of issues leading to a spate of suicides. In addition, they have been saying that the loan waiver scheme has hardly been beneficial to them.

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