Published: Tue, March 13, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Farmers call off stir as government meets 2 of their 9 demands

Farmers call off stir as government meets 2 of their 9 demands

Mumbai: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Maharashtra government has approached the leaders of the ongoing farmer agitation to discuss their demands, and promised a time-bound solution to grievances.

The Left-affiliated All India Kisan Sabha or AIKS, which spearheaded the farmers' Paidal March, wants the implementation of recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission that mandates farmers to be paid one-and-a-half times the cost of production and the Minimum Support Price be fixed for their produce. Making a statement on the Floor of the Assembly, Mr Fadnavis said 95 per cent of those camping at Mumbai's Azad Maidan were tribals and technically not farmers. The Maharashtra Government has also agreed to revise milk prices and appoint an independent observer for dairy business to help farmers. There are tribal cultivators too demanding implementation of the Forest Rights Act, which accords the rights of the forest to the forest-dwelling communities.

The MP from Mumbai North Central said it was the responsibility of the BJP-led Maharashtra government to sit with the protesters, who were being "captured" by Maoists, to solve their problems.

The state government has appointed a six-member committee to look into their demands.

"For writing off the entire debt burden of the farmers, the government needs barely Rs 1 lakh crore, which they don't have".

Opposition parties including the Indian National Congress (INC), the Shiv Sena, and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) have also extended full support to the protesting farmers.

He said the government would do something for those who had been left out of the loan waiver scheme.

In a considerate gesture, the farmers abandoned their night's rest, to march from the Somaiya Grounds, Vidyavihar starting 2 a.m. (Monday) to reach the historic Azad Maidan at dawn, to avoid inconveniencing students appearing for the ongoing board examinations.

Hitting out at Mahajan, CPM leader MB Rajesh said, "The Kisan Sabha is leading the rally". Seeing the elderly amongst them with calloused feet, I can not preach about motivation.

"Some more farmers are expected to join the march from neighbouring districts".

Subhash Talekar, the spokesperson of Mumbai Dabbawala Association, said, "We thought about helping the farmers with food as they are our food-providers and have come from remote parts of the state". "I appeal to PM Modi and the CM to not stand on ego and to accept their just demands".

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