The ‘long march’ by farmers and tribals in Maharashtra that commenced from Nasik district has halted at the outskirts of Mumbai after assurance from the government. Meanwhile, one farmer who was part of the march, died in Shahapur government hospital after he complained of uneasiness.
Pundalik Ambadas Jadhav was admitted to the hospital after he had complained of uneasiness while walking, and passed away during treatment. The government has announced ex gratia payment of Rs five lakh to the family of the deceased farmer.
Meanwhile, representatives on Friday said they will continue to head to Mumbai if they see no concrete steps from the government to address their issues. “We have halted the long march. But we need to see concrete action from the government that our issues will be addressed or else we will head to Mumbai,” Vinod Nikole, Communist Party of India (Marxist) MLA said, as per PTI.
The foot march by thousands of farmers and tribals, which started from Dindori town in Nashik district in North Maharashtra on Sunday last, has reached Vasind town, around 80km from Mumbai.
According to farmer leaders, the state government has agreed to all their demands, and so until it issues official orders, the march will wait on the outskirts of Mumbai till March 20.
The protesting farmers had put forward 17 demands for the state government to approve, including remunerative prices for onion, cotton, soybean, tur, green gram, and milk. They also demanded a rate of Rs 2,000 per quintal for onions, and an immediate subsidy of Rs 600 per quintal as well as changes in the onion export policy.
Chief minister Eknath Shinde, who led the talks with Deputy Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday, termed the discussion with farmers’ representatives positive.
The Maharashtra government has accepted most of the demands made by farmers who are marching from Nashik to Mumbai and onion cultivators will be given financial relief of Rs 350 a quintal, Shinde told the state Assembly on Friday.
Shinde said a cabinet sub-committee will be set up to monitor appeals and claims related to the demand of forest land up to four hectares in possession of cultivators. The panel will prepare a report in a month.
The panel will monitor the pending claims of farmers under the Forest Rights Act, Shinde said, adding former MLA Jeeva Pandu Gavit and sitting MLA Vinod Nikole, both belonging to the Communist Party of India (Marxist) will be part of the committee.
The farmers’ protest was non-political in nature and they had genuine demands, the chief minister said.
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