Thousands of Indian farmers march to call for government help

13 March, 2018, 12:02 | Author: Angel Logan
  • Protesting farmers

After Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis gave his assurance, the farmers called off their week-long agitation in which almost 35,000, a majority of them tribals, participated. Chandrakant Patil, minister for revenue, later read out the charter of demands, which had been accepted by the government, to the agitating farmers camping at Azad Maidan.

Around 35,000 farmers are now protesting at Azad Maidan in south Mumbai.

"We have agreed to most of the demands raised by the farmers and tribals".

On implementing the Forest Rights Act, Fadnavis said that all pending claims and appeals shall be cleared in six months.

Tens of thousands of farmers who marched up to six days from across western India arrived Monday in the country's business capital to demand loan waivers, fair prices for their produce and other help as India's agriculture sector struggles from years of declining earnings. The Shiv Sena also announced that they are not going to let the state Assembly function on Monday until the farmers' demands are met.

He said the government would do something for those who had been left out of the loan waiver scheme. The meeting to address the agrarian distress had followed a march by All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) - peasants front of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) - from Nashik to Mumbai. The farmers marched overnight to the maidan so as not to cause inconvenience to the students appearing for their exams today. "I think they're satisfied with our decisions".

Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis, who is scheduled to meet the representatives of farmers and tribals at 1 pm, assured the state assembly that the government was committed to resolving issues raised by farmers and tribals in a time-bound manner. Members include state water resources minister Girish Mahajan, the guardian minister for Nashik.

Farmer leaders called the statement "a lie" and accused the government of trying to discredit the protest.

All major political parties supported the agitation, with Congress president Rahul Gandhi terming it "an unprecedented show of strength", and urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Fadnavis to shed their ego and concede the farmers' legitimate demands.

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".

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