Former Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar said neither the state nor the Central government was taking the strike by farmers seriously. Pawar, who was speaking to the media in Pune, said farmers have been forced to go on strike following neglect of their issues. Farmers across Maharashtra have called for a strike from June 1 to press for a complete loan waiver. Wholesale markets in Nashik, Pune, etc are likely to be closed in the wake of farmers’ strike.
Kisan Kranti, the non political frontal organisation of farmers, has called for this strike. Talks with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and minister of state Sadashiv Khot have failed to resolve the situation. Farmers are adamant about a complete loan waiver, which the government has so far refused.
“I have not seen any move by either the state or the central government to resolve the issue. I am yet to speak to the chief minister about the matter. Will do so in the next few days,” Pawar said. The financial condition of farmers, he said, has been disturbed but the government has not taken the matter seriously. “The Central government in its affidavit before the Supreme Court has stated that 12,000 farmers have committed suicide every year in the last three years. The situation is that serious,” he said.
Alluding to his tenure as the agriculture minister, Pawar said suicides by farmers was an issue back then too. “We studied the matter and found the primary cause of the suicides was the growing debt burden on farmers. So we took the decision to waive off Rs 71,000 crore of farm loans,” he said. The cascading effect of the strike, Pawar said, will be felt in the days to come and can create a question on the food security of the nation.