A swarm of farmers has been marching from Nashik to Mumbai over the past 6 days. The protest that started with 20,000 farmers has now crossed the 50,000 mark. A number of demands have been put forth by the farmers that include complete loan waiver, fair pay, and transfer of Adivasi land to farmers and implementation of Swaminathan Committee report.
The report states that the farmers should be paid one-and-a-half times the cost of production and the Minimum Support Price should also be fixed. Even though the protest is being carried out on a huge scale, the All India Kisan Sabha fully co-operated with the government when asked not to disturb the traffic.
The farmers camped at KJ Somaiya Ground in central Mumbai’s Sion and marched towards Azad Maidan soon after midnight so that the daytime traffic is not disturbed. They also decided to hold the rally until 11 am on Monday morning so that the students appearing for board exams and others don’t face any problem in commuting.
Demands of the Farmers
The All India Kisan Sabha which is leading the protest has listed out the demands as follows:
• Remunerative prices for agricultural produce
• Increase in pension schemes to poor peasants and agricultural workers
• The temple and pasture lands to be vested in the name of the tillers
• Implementation of Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations ad Forests Rights Act
• Changes in the proposed river-linking scheme in Nashik, Thane, and Palghar districts.
The Government’s Take
Maharashtra Chief Minister said that the government is positive towards the farmer’s demands. Earlier, the CM was scheduled to meet the All India Kisan Sabha delegation at around 12 but because of the ongoing assembly session, the meeting has been deferred to 2 pm. Reportedly, a committee of ministers has been set up to negotiate with the farmers.
Meanwhile, the farmers’ protest has received complete support from various leaders in the state. These include NCP President Sharad Pawar, State Congress Chief Ashok Chavan, Shiv Sena Leader Aaditya Thackeray and MNS Chief Raj Thackeray.