Maharashtra: Farmers Call Off Protest After CM Assures In Writing To Meet Demands
The magnanimous Kisan Long March, which started from Nasik a week back and continued till yesterday in Mumbai was called off after the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis, gave assurance in writing to meet some of their demands.
We've had a positive meeting with farmers in which all their demands were discussed. They had around 12-13 demands out of which we've accepted some & will be giving them a written draft of it. I think they're satisfied with our decisions: Girish Mahajan, Maharashtra Minister pic.twitter.com/GPOksRFtuk
— ANI (@ANI) March 12, 2018
What were their demands?
CPM’s farmer wing, the Kisan Sabha, organized the march.
Their main demands were unconditional loan waiver, transfer of forest land in the name of landless tribals, and a committee for agricultural pricing and compensation for the pink bollworm attack, which affected 35 lakh cotton farmers, reported The Times of India.
Apart from the complete loan waiver, the protestors also demanded that each member of their family be considered as separate applicants.
Their agitation comes in the wake of successive droughts, inequitable water management and pricing policies that have seen a slow impoverishment of the farmer community everywhere in Maharashtra, reported The Indian Express.
What the Chief Minister said
After a four-hour meeting with the 15-team delegation of the farmers, the government remained non-committal on seven demands.
“We have agreed to most of the demands raised by farmers and tribals. Their main demand was for the transfer of forest land in their names. We have constituted a special team to complete the process in six months,” CM Devendra Fadnavis said, reported The Times of India.
“An important decision we have taken is to extend the loan waiver scheme to cover the 2001 to 2009 period as many farmers (affected during this time) didn’t get any benefit in the waiver announced in 2008,” he added. The second promise is to include term loans under the waiver scheme.
“The CM has decided to see how much of a financial burden this will be on the government and then a decision will be taken,” said the written reply given to the protestors, adding a committee of government and Kisan Sabha representative will arrive at a decision in the next 1.5 months.
The state also assured that land would not be acquired without their consent for the projects which included the Mumbai-Nagpur Samruddhi expressway and the bullet train.
They also arranged special trains and buses for the farmers and the tribals to go back home.