Farmers from across the state will be holding a gathering in Jalgaon on September 26 to revive their demand from the government for a complete loan waiver. The decision to hold the meeting in Jalgaon was taken by the coordination committee of farmers that met in Parbhani last week. “This government is not willing to listen to us. By putting terms and conditions, it is ensuring that lakhs of farmers do not get benefit of the so-called loan waiver that it has announced. It has made no moves on the issue of minimum support price for all agriculture produce. We now plan to gather in Jalgaon as a last warning to this government to change its ways,” said Dr Ajit Nawle, convener of the coordination committee of farmers who held agitations on the issue earlier.
Farmers in Maharashtra had in June this year gone on a 11-day strike seeking a loan waiver and fundamental changes in the functioning of agricultural markets. The initial agitation had forced the state government to come out with a loan waiver scheme. To placate the farmers, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had declared that the government’s farm loan waiver scheme would benefit 89 lakh farmers in the state, which would cost Rs 34,022 crore to the exchequer.
The government had limited its waiver to Rs 1.5 lakh per farmer, which is being opposed by farmers. The agitating group is also seeking MSP for agriculture produce.
The farmers had called off their strike after the announcements, but decided to restart their agitation two months later as they felt that their initial demand of complete loan waiver had not been met. The agitating group also questioned the utility and impact of the loan waiver saying it had not helped all farmers in the state.
The second phase of the agitation had gone on for two days and managed to gain some traction in rural Maharashtra as farmers came out on the streets seeking a complete loan waiver.
They had held a “chakka jam” to stop the flow of vehicles on state and national highways, and also held protests to stop ministers from unfurling flags in various parts of the state on Independence Day. However, the agitation was then discontinued. Farmers are now saying they will restart their protest to ensure their demands are met.