Agri Business

Fadnavis under pressure as 50,000 farmers, tribals march towards Mumbai

P. Manoj |Rahul Wadke | | Updated on: Mar 11, 2018

Sea of red Farmers associated with the All Indian Kisan Sabha marching to Mumbai on Sunday | Photo Credit: PTI

Seek complete loan waiver and implementation of Forest Rights Act, among other demands

Over 50,000 farmers and tribals associated with All Indian Kisan Sabha (AIKS) of the CPI (M) are likely to reach Mumbai on Monday for participating in a rally against the Fadnavis Government. Complete loan waiver for the farmers and implementation of the Forest Rights Act are some of the important demands of the agitators.

The agitators commenced their march from Nashik on March 6 passing through the farmer and tribal dominated areas of Nashik and Thane district. Farmers are reaching the city in batches and on Monday they plan to march to the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly pressing for their demands.

All India President AIKS, Ashok Dhawale, told BusinessLine that a large number of farmers have already reached the outskirts of Mumbai and the number is likely to increase further on Monday. The farmers want a complete waiver of their loans and tribals want lands rights, which they are eligible under the Forest Rights Act.

The farmers also want the implementation of the Swaminathan Commission Report, which has recommended that selling price of the farm produce should be based on 1.5 times the production cost. The farmers also want pension from the State Government. Land acquisition for fancy and expensive projects such Bullet Train and Nagpur-Mumbai super expressway should also be stopped, he said.

In 2017, the Maharashtra Government had launched Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Shetkari Sanman Yojana. Under this scheme, farmers gets a debt waiver up to ₹1.50 lakh irrespective of their landholding. It also provides an incentive up to ₹25,000 for those farmers who have made prompt repayment of loans.

State Finance Minister, Sudhir Mungantiwar, in his Budget speech on Friday had said that certain guidelines have been provided with a view to ensure that the benefits of the scheme are availed only by the needy and deserving farmers. So far, banks have been permitted to grant loan waiver to 46.34 lakh farm loan accounts, amounting to ₹23,102 crore. Accordingly, banks have passed on ₹13,782 crore to 35.68 lakhs beneficiaries up to March 6. The Government is continuing its efforts to give benefit to all remaining eligible beneficiaries at the earliest.

If loan waiver is provided to all the farmers without any guidelines then the burden on the State exchequer will increase to ₹35,000 crore.

Onion and tomato framer Vishnu Harak from Shivde village in Nashik district said about 20 farmers are planning to participate in the protest march from his village. “On one side we are losing exceptionally fertile land under the Nagpur-Mumbai super expressway and on the other hand farmers are not getting enough benefits of the loan waiver. Some farmers in Dindori taluk have faced bank action and confiscation of tractors,” he said.

Published on March 11, 2018
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