Around 30,000 farmers and tribals will start their two-day protest march from Thane Wednesday in support of their long-pending demands. The Maharashtra unit of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has extended support to the protest.
The march will begin in Thane and culminate in Azad Maidan. Some of the demands include the implementation of Swaminathan Committee Report, pending claims under the Forest Rights Act (FRA), minimum support price and setting up of a judicial system to ensure its implementation, complete farm loan waiver and drought compensation of Rs 50,000 per acre for non-irrigated land and Rs 1 lakh per acre for irrigated land and other issues.
Farmers and tribals from North Maharashtra, Vidarbha, Ahmednagar and other parts of the state will take part in the protest. Water conservationist Dr Rajendra Singh, MP Raju Shetty and others will also participate in the rally.
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“When the farmers’ long march was held from Nashik to Mumbai in March this year, the government had promised that all pending claims pertaining to FRA will be cleared in six months. But it has failed to keep its promise,” said Pratibha Shinde, general secretary of the Lok Sangharsh Morcha.
She further said that non-transfer of the forest land on to the tillers’ name has deprived many tribals from availing the benefits such as farm loan waiver, crop loan, drought compensation among others. “Besides, the farmers are getting less than the MSP for their produce and there is no place where they can complain about it. So, there is a need to have a judicial system to keep check on whether the farmers are getting the MSP,” she added.
Dhananjay Shinde, spokesperson of Aam Adami Party, which has extended support to the protest, said that many parts of the state that are witnessing the drought have not been declared drought hit. “The government needs to look at the ground reality and announce drought in more affected areas,” said Shinde.
He further said the representatives of all religions would also take part in the protest on Thursday to stand with the farmers for their issues. Other parties such as Janta Dal (Secular), Peasants and Workers Party (PWP) have also extended support to the protest.