Published: Mon, March 12, 2018
World | By Camille Rivera

'Red Sea' Of More Than 30000 Protesting Farmers Reach Mumbai's Azad Maidan

'Red Sea' Of More Than 30000 Protesting Farmers Reach Mumbai's Azad Maidan

"Farmers in the state are reeling under the ripples of agrarian distress and they are under huge financial burden.

Almost 50,000 farmers have assembled at the Azad Maidan.

The ABKS was part of the steering committee of farmers' outfits that started unprecedented strikes past year.

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Traffic on most of the roads would be blocked due to the farmers' march so the Maharashtra government advised the students appearing for the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) examination to reach their centres before time on Monday.

Signalling a softening of the stance, Dhawale said the AIKS wants to find a feasible solution for the issues faced by the farmers.

Maharashtra minister Girish Mahajan, who welcomed the march at Mulund in suburban Mumbai yesterday, said the government, which has met earlier demands by farmers, will consider their latest ones. The farmers' demands include a complete loan waiver, fair price for farm produce, implementation of the Swaminathan Commission's recommendations, and compensation for hailstorm-affected farmers among other things.

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The protesting farmers say that they are miffed with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) "anti-farmer policies". The marchers reached Shahapur, the largest taluka in Thane district around 7 p.m. on Thursday before resuming their march on Friday morning to reach Vasind by noon - where a team of farmers that was moving ahead ensured that lunch was ready for everyone. He said he was conveying the message of Sena president Uddhav Thackeray. So far, banks have been permitted to grant loan waiver to 46.34 lakh farm loan accounts, amounting to ₹23,102 crore.

The state government's much-hyped scheme of building farm ponds on demand is also a farce, said Raotovar, as while farmers get these ponds sanctioned, the budget is never released on time. "We will march to gherao Vidhan Mandal tomorrow", Mr Navale said. Many have fainted and required medical help along the way, but the government hasn't taken any notice of the protest march. Farmers are unhappy with the attitude of the state government towards the condition of their community in the state. "While we believe that the number of protesters would grow on Monday", an IPS officer said.

Government officials and the police are already in talks with the protesters to avoid chaos on Monday.

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