Over 20,000 farmers on Wednesday marched from Maharashtra’s Thane to Mumbai demanding drought compensation, an unconditional farm loan waiver and the transfer of forest rights to Adivasis, NDTV reported. This comes almost eight months after nearly 35,000 farmers marched from Nashik to Mumbai demanding a complete waiver of loans.
The march will start from Thane and end at the Somaiyya Ground in Sion on Wednesday. The following day, farmers will march to Azad Maidan in Mumbai and continue their protest till their demands are met, reported Hindustan Times.
“We have been consistently asking the state government to fulfil our long-standing demands but the response has been lukewarm,” said Pratibha Shinde, general secretary of the Lok Sangharsh Morcha which is organising the protest march. “We are forced to agitate.”
Leaders of farmers’ unions claim that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis-led state government has not fulfilled promises made during talks to end the agitation in March, NDTV reported. The protestors had then demanded the implementation of the Swaminathan Committee Report which said farmers must have assured access and control over resources such as land and water, and a proper implementation of the loan waiver package announced in 2017.
This time, the farmers are also demanding an increase in the minimum support price and a judicial system to ensure its implementation. “Two bills to ensure these rights were drafted by the All India Sangharsh Coordination Committee and placed in Parliament but both bills have been languishing,” said leader of the Jai Kisan Andolan Avik Saha. “More than 60% of the voters in India are directly or indirectly dependent on agriculture. The ruling party and Opposition will now understand the gravity of this problem.”