Thousands of Indian farmers march 180km for government support
12 March, 2018, 09:24
"My feet are blistered, but I will walk to Vidhan Bhawan and force the government to accept our demands", said Gave, a farmer from Dindori, Nashik, who is part of the march organized by the CPI-M's Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Sabha.
Huge Maharashtra's Famers' march started out from Nashik on Tuesday has finally reached Mumbai border today.
"We will not end our protest until they give us written assurances around fulfilling our demands", said Ajit Nawale, state general secretary, All India Kisan Sabha, the organiser of the march. Near about 30,000 farmers slowly heading towards KJ Somaiya ground in central Mumbai. "I am confident that the farmers can expect a positive outcome at tomorrow's meeting".
If loan waiver is provided to all the farmers without any guidelines then the burden on the State exchequer will increase to ₹35,000 crore. However, Ajit Navale, leader of the Communist Party and convenor of the Kisan Sabha, which is spearheading the protest, refused to be drawn into any discussions at this stage and chose to go ahead with the March.
Fadnavis told the assembly that 95% of those camping at Mumbai'sAzad Maidan are tribals and "technically" not farmers, even as thousands of protesters wait to meet him on several demands. "The loan waiver scheme has not helped us as many of us do not have big land holdings", she said.
The agitating farmers included men and women.
"We will not call off our agitation till we get written assurances from the Chief Minister that the committed to settle all our demands", Nawale said.
MNS chief Raj Thackeray and Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray met the farmers yesterday. "We have marched more than 100km and will go back only when all our demands are fulfilled".
The last one year has been tough on Ankush Raotovar, a 55-year-old farmer from Marathwada's Parbhani district.
All opposition parties in the state, including the Congress, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Peasants and Workers' Party (PWP) have extended support to the AIKS.
The farmers troubled by fake promises by Maharashtra government are expected to stage "gherao" protest outside Maharashtra assembly in Mumbai on Monday.
Importantly, the budget session of the state legislature is underway.
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