Marking an end to the second mega agitation in Mumbai, tribal farmers called off their protest Thursday after the Maharashtra government agreed to fulfil their various demands. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis assured tribal farmers that their forest land rights claims will be settled by December this year. The chief minister also gave this assurance to representatives of over 7,000 protesting farmers who marched to Azad Maidan for redressal of their grievances, which include compensation for drought and transfer of forest rights to tribals.
According to Tribal welfare minister Vishnu Savra, a total of 3.6 lakh claims were received of which 1.74 lakh have been settled in favour of the tribals. Similarly, 12,000 claims for community forest activity were also received of which 7,700 have been settled, he added.
A delegation of the protesting tribals met Fadnavis at Vidhan Bhawan in south Mumbai today, where the winter session of the state legislature is underway.
The farmers and tribals, who began the two-day march from Thane to Mumbai, reached Azad Maidan early Thursday, eight months after a similar protest was held at the venue. The morcha traversed through Dadar and the JJ flyover before reaching the Maidan, adjacent to the Mumbai municipal corporation headquarters.
Pratibha Shinde, general secretary of Lok Sangharsh Morcha who threatened not to leave the ground until the demands are met, said, “We have been consistently asking the state government to fulfil our long-standing demands, but the response was lukewarm. We are forced to launch this agitation.”
The farmers, struggling to cope with the agrarian crisis, are demanding implementation of the Swaminathan Committee report, which suggested that farmers must have assured access and control over resources such as land and water. They are also demanding an increase in the minimum support price and a judicial system to ensure its implementation along with the proper implementation of the loan waiver package announced by the BJP-led government.
In March, thousands of farmers, led by the Left-affiliated All India Kisan Sabha, took out a 180-km long march from Nashik to Mumbai in March to press for their demands.