Mumbai:As Devendra Fadnavis government in Maharashtra braces for a massive showdown on Monday, with farmers marching towards Mumbai from Nashik, the crowd has swelled to nearly 35,000 people demanding waiver of all farm loans and implementation of the Swaminathan Commission report.The All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) protest march reached Anand Nagar in Thane on Sunday, reported ANI. The AIKS is the farmer wing of Communist Party of India — Marxist (CPM). According to NDTV, the number of farmers reached close to 35,000 as more and more people joined the march on the way since it began on 6 March. The march will be attended by AIKS national president Ashok Dawale, CPM MLA JP Gavit, state president Kisan Gujar and working president Arjun Ade among others.
The 180-km-long march commenced on March 5 from CBS Chowk in Central Nashik. Farmers of the state have been demanding a complete waiver of loans and electricity bills. Last year, the Maharashtra government had announced a loan waiver of Rs 4,000 crores under the first phase of the farm loan waiver scheme.Farmers in the state are reeling under the ripples of agrarian distress and they are under huge financial burden. The government has not done anything to provide them any relief. So they are left with no option but to express their anguish through the protest march,” Ajit Nawale, state general secretary of AIKS, said.
Stressing on the level of discontent among the farmers, Nawale said that the number of protesters will go up to 55,000- 60,000 figure when it will reach the destination.Apart from a complete loan waiver, the farmers are demanding a profit of 1.5 times input cost for all major agriculture commodities and want immediate implementation of MS Swaminathan committee’s recommendations to ensure fair remuneration.
The farmers are also demanding compensation of Rs 40,000 per acre for the destruction of crops due to hailstorm and pink-worm, allocation of forest land under cultivation to farmers and implementation of Forest Rights Act.While the organisers have said they would try to reach the assembly in peaceful manner, the government is likely to stop the protest march at Azad Maidan.