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Thousands of farmers marched towards Mumbai’s Azad Maidan protesting and claiming for their rights

Thousands of farmers marched towards Mumbai’s Azad Maidan protesting and claiming for their rights: The Chief Minister of Maharashtra, David Fadnavis met an allocation of protesting farmers on Thursday to recall their demands for loan waiver and land rights. The farmers were promised alterations by the BJP government eight months back but were not completed. Girish Mahajan, the water resource minister of Maharashtra, accompanied the crowd from Thane to the capital of state for meeting the Chief Minister at the Vidhan Bhawan.

Mumbai: A large number of farmers and tribals take part in a protest march to push for the their long pending demands including better price for their produce, total waiver of agricultural loans and transfer of forest rights to tribals, in Mumbai, Thursday, November 22, 2018, (PTI Photo/Shashank Parade) (PTI11_22_2018_000050B)

Thousands Of Farmers March To Azad Maidan In Mumbai For Loan Waiver

More than thousands farmers and tribal walked almost 40 kilometres and came back in Mumbai to demand for the enactment on the promises made by the government in March last year.

The farmers are protesting against the last year loan contract package announced by Fadnavis and that of the references of the MS Swaminathan where the farmers will get 50% Commission for more than the cost of their harvest produce, land rights for tribal farmers and also the compensation for farm labourers. Meanwhile, the farmers are also hit by a drought as well so the farmers are demanding the proper execution of the loan contract package announced last year.

Pratibha Shinde who is the general secretary of Morcha said on Wednesday that the campaigners, who are carrying two kilograms of rice and one kilogram of dal, will stay put in Mumbai unless their demands are cleared.

She also added by saying “We have been consistently asking the state government to fulfil our long-standing demands, but the response has been lukewarm. We are forced to launch this agitation.”

Thousands of farmers and tribals who are protesting previously assembled at Azad Maidan, a ground which is known for protest gatherings and political marches as well as its cricket fields, up-roaring slogans like “Maharashtra government wake up” as they held a march.

Thousands of farmers and tribals started their march on Wednesday and arrived at the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly in Mumbai to object several agricultural and farming issues troubling the state.  About 7,000 farmers started their rally from Mulund Octroi Naka (Thane) and marched for 13 hours to reach Azad Maidan under the banner Lok Sangharsh Morcha. A number of political parties have also given their support to the protest, comprising Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Janata Dal (Secular) and Shiv Sena. Dr Rajendra Singh and MP Raju Shetty, who are water preservationist have also come out in support of the protest.

Jilabai from Nandurbar district, an eldest protester who is more than 100 years old, also joined the farmers protest and also walked from Thane to Azad Maidan. After reaching the Azad Maidan, she was then called on the stage where she shouted slogans as well as sang a song for criticising the government.

 

Another protester, Sardar Ram singh, who is from Jalgaon said that he sold his goat for Rs 1,400 to take part in the march to Mumbai. Ram singh further explained his reason for protesting that he had five acres of land but it was attained by the forest department. So, to earn a living now he started working as a farm labourer on somebody else’s land to earn Rs 150 per day.

“I had no money to come here. So, I sold my goat and arranged some money,” he said.

 

In eight months, this is the second time that the farmers have protested to the state capital demanding for their rights.  Earlier this year on 12th March 2018, the farmers protested and took a march from Nashik to protest for their demands.

Devendra Fadnavis, Maharashtra Chief Minister on Thursday guaranteed the tribal farmers that their forest land rights entitlements will be settled by December this year. Vishnu Savra who is the Tribal welfare minister said total number of 3.6 lakh claims were received, out of which 1.74 lakh have been settled in the support of the tribals.