A group of 30,000 farmers which left Nashik on Tuesday, protesting against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government over the agrarian distress, reached Mumbai on Sunday. The group will be gathering around the assembly on Monday to bring attention of the government to their demands.
Soon after the All India Kisan Sabha-led farmers reached Mumbai, Shiv Sena leader Aditya Thackeray met them and heard their concerns. BJP is not just facing flak from the opposition but its estranged ally Shiv Sena has extended its support to the protesting farmers.
The 180-km long foot march which began with the participation of about 12,000 farmers, has gathered the support of 30,000 people now, AIKS has claimed. A complete loan waiver is one of the main demands of these farmers. They have been claiming that the government has not acted on the promises that were made to them.
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 the immediate implementation of MS Swaminathan committee's recommendations to ensure fair remuneration.
"Farmers in the state are reeling under the ripples of agrarian distress and they are under a 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.
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.
In June 2017, similar protests had boiled over most parts of the state, forcing the Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis-led government to announce a conditional Rs 34,000 crore loan waiver, which farmers claim has not been implemented properly.
Similar demands of loan waiver and 50 per cent profit over the input cost have been made by farmers across the country, putting the BJP-led central government in a fix.