Farmers across Maharashtra will stop sending their produce to markets across the state from Thursday as part of a protest to seek loan waiver from the government.
Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMC) across the state are expected to remain empty from Thursday with the farmers threatening that they will not allow any kind of agricultural produce to be transported from their villages.
Farmers in the state have been demanding a complete loan waiver from the present BJP government. A delegation of farmers under the aegis of Kisan Kranti Morcha had held a meeting with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday to break the impasse. But with no concrete assurance from the state, the strike will go on as planned, the farmers said.
In Nashik, which provides bulk of vegetables that come to Mumbai, farmers had been holding meetings in every village of the district to ensure that no agricultural produce crossed the village boundary towards any major city in the state. Interestingly, local leaders and big farmers have offered to open up their cold storage units for the farmers to store their produce till the protest is on.
“We do not want to cause hardship to farmers by destroying the produce. Therefore, many of us have decided to open up our cold storage units for local farmers where they can store their produce till a solution is found,” Jayant Deokar, a farmer from Pimpalgaon, said.
Some of the major demands of the farmers have been that the state clears the 7/12 extracts that are property documents of farmers from all liabilities. The farmers are seeking interest-free loans, a pension scheme for farmers over the age of 60 years, uninterrupted power supply and a minimum support price of Rs 50 per litre of milk. “We are looking into the demands. A complete loan waiver at this time is not possible. However, we will ensure that we find a solution to the problems of farmers. Adequate steps are being taken to ensure that there is no shortage felt in the cities,” a senior state government official said.