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Social activist Anna Hazare ready to talk to Maharashtra CM on behalf of protesting farmers

Mumbai city news: Hazare’s intervention may come as a relief for the Devendra Fadnavis-led BJP government

mumbai Updated: Jun 02, 2017 16:28 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Mumbai city news,Anna Hazare,Maharashtra farmers protest
Activist Anna Hazare said the issue can be sorted through talks.(HT File)

As the Maharashtra farmers’ strike continued on Day 2 on Friday, social activist Anna Hazare said he was ready mediate between the state government and farmers.

“Launching an agitation is the constitutional right of farmers. The agitation has to be in the framework of the constitution, laws and rules”, Hazare said, in a statement. “Farmers’ demands are just and reasonable and need of the hour is to chalk out a long-drawn agitation. I had a discussion with chief minister Devendra Fadnavis twice. He has promised to work out a solution.”

Hazare said farmers took to the streets as their patience has been tested . “They are not in position to repay bank or private loans. Farmers should observe some restraint and government should think over their demands with sympathy,” he said.

Hazare’s intervention may come as a relief for the Devendra Fadnavis-led BJP government, which is yet to figure out a way to take the steam out of farmers’ agitation for loan waiver. The state wanted time to make a decision, but the agitation shows farmers are in no mood to wait.

APMC markets across the city wore a deserted look. (Rishikesh Choudhary)

On the second day of the strike, farmers continued to block trucks carrying milk and vegetables across the state. If the strike continues further, cities like Mumbai, Pune and Nashik may face shortage of vegetables, milk and fruits. The prices of these commodities have started to shoot up in the retail market.

Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday expressed the government’s inability to waive loans for farmers. He said the government can waive loans for 31 lakh farmers who have gone out of the institutional credit system as they couldn’t repay the loans.

“It is not possible for the state government to waive loans in full for 1.34 crore farmers in the state. For that, the government will have to shell out Rs1.34 lakh crore, which is more than the capital expenditure of Maharashtra. The government is considering waiving loans of 31 lakh farmers, which comes to around Rs30,000 crore,” Fadnavis said on Thursday.

First Published: Jun 02, 2017 13:40 IST