agrarian crisis

Maharashtra farmers call off their protest after chief minister says government will fulfil demands

The Central Railways will run two special trains from Mumbai to Bhusawal on Monday for the return of the agitators.

The 35,000-odd farmers agitating in Mumbai called off their protest on Monday after the Maharashtra government agreed to fulfil their demands. The farmers had marched from Nashik to Mumbai over the past few days, demanding, among other things, an unconditional loan waiver scheme, better rates for their crops and the implementation of the Forest Rights Act.

The Devendra Fadnavis-led government gave the farmers a written assurance that it would address their grievances within two months. Fadnavis said the talks with the delegation of farmers were very fruitful. “We have accepted most of their demands and have given them a letter,” said Fadnavis. “We have promised that we will give the Adivasi community whatever they are eligible for.”

He said that the government will pursue with the Centre the issue of granting farmers a minimum support price 1.5 times the cost of production of their crops, the Hindustan Times reported.

State minister V Savra said that the farmers’ main complaint was they should be given rights to the land they cultivate. “The chief minister has agreed to the demand and chief secretary will follow up on this and implementation will start in six months,” he told ANI.

The Central Railway will run two special trains from Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus to Bhusawal in Jalgaon district at 8.50 pm and 10 pm on Monday for the return of the agitating farmers, ANI reported.

Apart from loan waiver, around 30,000 protesting farmers of Maharashtra have been demanding the implementation of the Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations on providing minimum support prices and safeguarding the interests of small farmers.

In June 2017, the Maharashtra government had announced a loan waiver scheme for small and marginal farmers. It had started disbursing the loan waiver amounts to farmers’ accounts in October 2017, four months after it had announced the scheme. The move was expected to benefit nearly 89 lakh farmers, but was plagued by technical difficulties.

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