Farmers in the state are set to go on strike again from Monday, 62 days after they called off their previous agitation seeking loan waiver and fundamental changes in the functioning of agricultural markets. The strike is being restarted as farmers feel their demand of complete loan waiver has not been met. The agitating group has also questioned the utility and impact of the government’s loan waiver, and stated that it has not helped all farmers in the state.
“We will restart our agitation on August 14 by blocking all national and state highways. We have been forced to do this as our demands have not been met by the government,” Dr Ajit Nawale, convenor of the Farmers’ Core Committee, said.
The committee has also decided that it will not allow ministers to hoist flags anywhere in the state on August 15.
“These ministers have the blood of farmers on their hands. We will not allow them to raise the national flag at any function during the Independence Day celebrations. They have sat by idly while farmers have suffered,” Nawale said.
While the group has requested farmers to come out in large numbers from Monday, there are doubts on how effective this round of their agitation would be, and whether it would garner popular support.
The previous farmers’ agitation, which had forced the state to come out with a loan waiver scheme, had been limited to Western Maharashtra and North Maharashtra. In order to placate farmers, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had declared that the government’s farm loan waiver scheme would benefit 89 lakh farmers, and 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 the protesters. They are also seeking Minimum Support Price for agriculture produce.