Seeking Loan Waiver, Higher MSP, Thousands of Farmers March Into Mumbai

12 March 2018, 03:31 | Isaac Mcdaniel

The massive Long March of the Maharashtra unit of the All India Kisan Sabha. Express

The massive Long March of the Maharashtra unit of the All India Kisan Sabha. Express

"The farmers are feeling betrayed by the Maharashtra Government and the BJP-led NDA at the Centre", Maharashtra ABKS president Dr Ashok Dhavale said.

Around 50,000 farmers are marching to Mumbai, intending to gherao the Vidhan Bhavan, or state legislative assembly, to press for their demands that include implementation of Forest Right Act 2008, Dr Swaminathan commission report for fair prices to farmers and complete loan waiver.

BJP is not just facing flak from the opposition but its estranged ally Shiv Sena has extended its support to the protesting farmers.

As so many farmers have marched to Mumbai despite the government's grand loan waiver, Sena leaders have demanded to see the list of actual beneficiaries of the scheme, he said.

"Farmers have been betrayed by the BJP-led government".

"This government is incapable of doing anything", the MNS chief said, addressing thousands of farmers who rested at Somaiya Ground in Sion area after reaching the city this evening. Senior Sena leader Eknath Shinde met the protestors in Shahapur yesterday at the behest of Uddhav Thackeray.

Onion and tomato framer Vishnu Harak from Shivde village in Nashik district said about 20 farmers are planning to participate in the protest march from his village.

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Past year in June, similar protests gave a rise to intense situation over most parts of the state, forcing the CM Devendra Fadnavis-led government to annouce a conditional Rs 34,000 crore loan waiver, which was not implemented properly, according to farmers.

"I have come to greet you". He added they were all here to present their charter of demands to the government.

Thackeray said the Shiv Sena stood "shoulder to shoulder" with farmers in their struggle. Sharad Pawar led NCP has also offered its support to farmers. The tribals have joined the protest in huge numbers.

Considering that the rally would head towards South Mumbai from EEH, the Mumbai police officials are in process of negotiation with the protesters to change the route to avoid traffic congestion on Monday. "How can the government let billionaires like Nirav Modi and Vijay Mallya (another fugitive) have gala time at foreign shores and farmers suffer because of increasing debts?" asked a protesting farmer.

Maharashtra Education Minister Vinod Tawde tweeted, "In light of Kisan Long March, SSC students appearing for exams tomorrow are advised to ensure that they reach exam centres well beforehand to avoid delays".

Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Deven Bharti said that adequate security arrangements had been made.



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