May 19th, 2017
Farmers in Maharashtra have called for indefinite protest action from 1June 2017, threatening to cut milk and vegetable supplies to major cities like Mumbai and Pune.
The decision came after a group of farmers met Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and state opposition leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil on Tuesday, 16 May.
According to a report in Financial Express, the farmers’ demands include loan waiver, minimum support price (MSP) for milk and crops, grants for irrigation, and free electricity.
Several groups of farmers have been holding ‘Gram Sabhas’ across the state to gain support for the protest. Farmers from Ahmednagar and Aurangabad and 20 other districts like Jalna, Beed, Nashik, Solapur, Pune, Satara, Kolhapur, Buldhana, Ahmednagar and Washim have agreed to join the protest.
“On Wednesday, we decided to step up the protest against the government in phases. In the first phase, we will cut off supply of vegetables and milk to cities like Mumbai and Pune,” Dhananjay Dhorde Patil, member of the farmers’ co-ordinating committee said.
The coordination committee of 38 farmer organisations said that they will give government till 30 May, hoping for some positive decision if not then the actual agitation shall begin at the start of the Kharif season in June when farmers will produce only for their consumption and not for the market. They also plan to stop supply of food grains, cereals, fruits and milk to markets.
Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana leader and MP Raju Shetty will be holding an ‘Atma Klesh Pada Yatra’ from May 22 to May 30 from Pune to Mumbai to draw the government’s attention towards farmers’ issues.
Maharashtra remains the worst state when it comes to farmer suicides, and it has remained so for over a decade now. 852 farmers suicides have been reported in Maharashtra from January to April in this year alone. What has added to the farmers’ misery are the two faced two consecutive droughts, very poor yield, poorly priced crops, and outstanding loans.