Around 30,000 farmers, led by the Maharashtra unit of the farmers’ outfit, Akhil Bhartiya Kisan Sabha (ABKS), are marching towards Mumbai to block access to the state legislature building from Monday until their demands are met.
Farmers in Maharashtra, who are struggling to cope with the agrarian crisis and natural calamities, are demanding proper implementation of the loan waiver package announced by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in 2017, the implementation of recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission, and protesting the government’s, what they call, anti-farmer policies.
“The state government declared a loan waiver package, but 1,753 farmers have committed suicide [since then] because it has failed miserably because of poor implementation. Around 30,000 farmers have come together for the agitation demanding their rights,” said Ajit Nawale, state general secretary, ABKS.
The organisation also wants the state to implement recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission, which includes better minimum support price for farm produce. It also wants pending electricity bills to be waived and power restored, where it has been cut, among other things.
The state has been seeing multiple farmer agitations. The Nationalist Congress Party, led by Sharad Pawar, will be holding a huge rally at Nashik on March 10 against the state government on farmers’ issues. The party had recently concluded the third leg of its Halla Bol Andolan in Jalgaon, north Maharashtra. The party has organised similar stirs in Vidarbha and Marathwada in the past three months.
No government has been sincere towards the issues of farmers. The present government is no different. Instead of waiving loans up to Rs 1.5 lakh per farmer beneficiary, the state government should write off the entire loan packages of all the identified 79 lakh farmers. However, in no case should income taxpayers, traders and government employees be covered in the ambit of the loan waiver scheme. It should benefit only genuine farmers and not those who have purchased farm lands to convert their black money into white.—Amar Habib, Kisanputra Andolan