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Govt Not Fulfilling Promises, Protests Will Intensify After June 10: Farmer Agitation Leaders

On June 1 last year, farmers in Maharashtra went on a massive strike, stopping the supply of milk and vegetables to all the nearby centres. The massive protests brought the government to its knees and a farm loan waiver was announced to pacify the group.

Vinaya Deshpande | CNN-News18

Updated:June 1, 2018, 7:56 PM IST
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Govt Not Fulfilling Promises, Protests Will Intensify After June 10: Farmer Agitation Leaders
Illustration by Mir Suhail/ News18.com.
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Mumbai: Akole tehsil of Ahmednagar district in Maharashtra, on Friday, saw two prominent leaders of All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) spearhead a group of over 5000 farmers. The protestors marched to the tehsildar office to remind the government of its promises.

On June 1 last year, farmers in Maharashtra went on a massive strike, stopping the supply of milk and vegetables to all the nearby centres. The massive protests brought the government to its knees and a farm loan waiver was announced to pacify the group.

A year later, farmers aren’t happy with partial farm loan waiver. At various places across the state, farmers peacefully marched towards tehsildar offices.

The protestors spilt milk on streets and stopped a few vegetable trucks. “There is no political will to take decisions benefiting farmers. Lack of political will, combined with financial restrictions, has led to apathy in this government. We are more upset with the Centre than the state government. It is the government of the corporates. It does not care for the welfare of the farmers,” Ashok Dhawale, leader of AIKS told News18 from Akole.

Earlier in the day, Dr Ajit Navale, who was also spearheading the agitation, said the protests are a grim reminder to the government to not test the farmers’ patience. “Farmers’ protest in Maharashtra has completed one year. Despite this, the government of Maharashtra has not yet fulfilled the promises it had made to farmers. We had called for a long march last year to remind the government of its promises. The government, though, failed to keep its word. The milk producers’ association, too, has been calling for minimum support price for milk. Despite assurances, our demands have fallen on deaf ears,” he told News18.

Navale said farmers across the state gheraoed tehsildar offices and even took their cattle there. “If push comes to shove, farmers will stop the supply of milk and vegetables to cities. If the government does not take positive measures to address our concerns, the protest will intensify after June 10,” he said.

Speaking on the government’s hits and misses, Dhawale said, “The government has given farm loan waivers from 2001 to 2009. They had promised that and then delivered. But the most crucial farm loan waiver is for the year 2016-17. The government has not yet taken a decision on that. It is still pending with the cabinet.”

He also raised the issue of remunerative prices and said that the issue hadn’t been resolved despite assurances.

“Another factor is the minimum support price of milk. We have been demanding that farmers get Rs 27 per litre price for milk. They only get Rs 17 currently. Consumers buy milk in urban areas at the price of Rs 55. Where does this difference go? If the government interferes, then the consumers will have to pay less, and the farmers will get more money,” he said.

Many farmers’ organisation leaders News18 spoke to, said the protest was a way to pressure to the government to accept demands for the welfare of the farmers.

In Maharashtra, many farmers’ organisations like Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana, Swabhimani Paksha stayed away from the protests. At some places, farmers were supported by the workers of Nationalist Congress Party.
| Edited by: Aditya Nair
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