Apart from special trains, MSRTC has also arranged 15 buses for agitating farmers to return to Nashik. The buses are parked near Azad Maidan and few other places in Mumbai. The farmers say that the government has given them a time frame in which their demands will be met. They will wait for the action to be initiated before deciding on the next course of action.
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The meeting between Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and a delegation of agitating farmers here today over their demands was nothing but a "sort of match fixing", a senior Congress leader said. The Congressman, who was part of the meet, alleged leaders of the Opposition were made to wait out for an hour, while both parties (the government and the All India Kisan Sabha representatives) held a closed-door meeting after lunch. "Not just the Opposition, even the ministers were kept waiting outside when the farmer organisation's representatives and the chief minister met for around 2 hours in the latter's ante-chamber. "This has raised suspicion that the whole meeting was a sort of match-fixing," said the senior leader, who did not wish to be identified.
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The image of hardship and resilience.
Addressing the protesting farmers, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis announced that his government has accepted all demands and said that the talks with the delegation of farmers were very conducive. “We have promised that we will give to tribals whatever they are eligible for. The farmers had demanded the implementation of the Forest Rights Act to secure the rights of the people working on community lands and to help the farmers secure loans to opt for basic irrigation facilities. Maharashtra minister V Savra says that farmers complained that they should be given rights of the land they cultivate. “The CM has agreed to the demand and chief secretary will follow-up on this and implementation will start in six months,” he says.
Ministers of the Maharashtra government are on stage with the 12-member delegation of farmers that met state representatives earlier in the day. The ministers have announced that all demands have been met and the farmers are now expected to end their protest. It is not yet clear what demands have been accepted.
Maharashtra Irrigation Minister Girish Mahajan said, "We've had a positive meeting with farmers in which all their demands were discussed. They made around 12-13 demands out of which we've accepted some while rest were not acceptable due to technical issues. We will be giving them a written draft of it. I think they're satisfied with our decisions."
The protest in Mumbai is likely to be called off after the farmers reached an agreement with the Devendra Fadnavis government. The government has agreed to give written assurances that it would address their grievances within the next two months. The decision was taken after 12-member delegation of the farmers met a six-member committee formed by the state government. Their main demand was an unconditional waiver of loans as well as electricity bills. Apart from this, they had also demanded implementation of the Swaminathan Commission recommendations, including an announcement of minimum support price for agriculture produce and a pension scheme for farmers.
Accept demands of farmers and tribals: Rahul to PM, Fadnavis | Congress president Rahul Gandhi today urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to shed their egos and accept the "just demands" of the thousands of farmers and tribals protesting in Mumbai. The mammoth farmers march to Mumbai is a "stunning example of people's power", Gandhi said on Twitter. The Congress, he added, stands with the farmers and tribals marching to protest against the apathy of the central and state governments. "I appeal to PM Modi and the CM to not stand on ego and to accept their just demands," Gandhi tweeted. Fadnavis said today his government was "sensitive and positive" towards the demands of farmers and tribals, who have marched from Nashik to Mumbai to draw the administration's attention towards their problems.
Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil and NCP leader Ajit Pawar will be part of the government’s talks with farmers. Farmers reached Azad Maidan early today, after camping at KJ Somaiya Ground in Sion area. The CPI(M)-affiliated All India Kisan Sabha, which is spearheading the protest, said it will consider what the government has to offer. CPI(M) leader Ashok Dhawle said over 50,000 people have joined the protest.
Over 40,000 farmers, led by the Left-affiliated All India Kisan Sabha, have a demand which is a tad different from those made by other farmer organisations.
According to Talekar, the Mumbai roti-bank, of which the dabbawalas are an integral part, deploys GPS-tracked vans to collect excess food from eateries, hotels, public functions, and households, so that it can be distributed to the poor and hungry people. Meanwhile, city residents were also seen offering 'Vada-pav' (a popular street snack), other food items and water to farmers last night. A Mumbai resident also posted on social media a picture of food and water being distributed to farmers.Several political parties like the Congress, the NCP, the Shiv Sena and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena have extended their support to the protesting farmers.
Dabbawalas, Mumbaikars provide food to protesting farmers | The famed 'dabbawalas' of Mumbai and the city residents came out to help the thousands of farmers, who walked for six days to reach here from Nashik to raise their various demands, by providing them food and water. The farmers walked upto the Azad Maidan in South Mumbai early this morning as a part of their 'long march' for raising demands, including implementation of the Maharashtra government's loan waiver scheme. Subhash Talekar, the spokesperson of Mumbai Dabbawala Association, said, "We thought about helping the farmers with food as they are our food-providers and have come from remote parts of the state." "We asked our men working between Dadar (in Central Mumbai) and Colaba (South Mumnbai) to collect food and deliver it to our farmer brothers at the Azad Maidan," he said. Dabbawalas, the tiffin-carriers known for their efficient delivery service, provided food to the protesters as a part of their 'roti-bank' initiative.
Yuva Sena President Aaditya Thackeray said the farmers need to be heard.
They are farmers who need to be heard. It’s unfortunate to be insensitive to those who feed us and put ideological cages on them. I’m proud of my fellow Shiv Sainiks who are with them nursing their wounds, and voicing the farmers in the Assembly too, only seeing their need. pic.twitter.com/6eJfhc1RTI— Aaditya Thackeray (@AUThackeray) March 12, 2018
What are the basic features of the Act? | The act grants legal recognition to the rights of the people who have traditionally live near the forests. This was primarily done to iron out the problems caused by the forest laws ushered in by the British. People who have been living in the scheduled forest areas and the ones who work on such lands are covered under this act. However, one has to be either from the Scheduled Caste or living there or be from a forest-dwelling Scheduled Tribe. But the final decision on whom to include under the Act depends on the Gram Sabha, which recommends the names to the taluka and district committee. After the screening committee vets them, the names of the entitled persons are listed.
Apart from the loan waiver and better Minimum Support Price, these farmers want the implementation of the Forest Rights Act to secure the rights of the people working on community lands and to help the farmers secure loans to opt for basic irrigation facilities. What is the Forest Rights Act, 2006? | India is home to millions who drive their sustenance from India's forest lands but could never claim any legal right over their homes or lands they worked on. Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, also known as Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006, recognises the rights of the people who live and work in such lands.
Sena backs farmers' protest march | The Shiv Sena today threw its weight behind the thousands of farmers who marched from Nashik to Mumbai to highlight their problems and said the party would back them regardless of their red flags. The saffron party also said the role of leaders with communist ideology -- a red flag usually symbolises communism -- in the agitation for a separate Maharashtra cannot be forgotten.The CPI(M)-affiliated All India Kisan Sabha is spearheading the protest that turned south Mumbai's Azad Maidan into a sea of red today as thousands of farmers carrying red flags converged there after walking around 180 km from neighbouring Nashik district. The farmers plan to surround the state Assembly complex to press for their demands of an unconditional loan waiver and transfer of forest land to tribal farmers who have been tilling it for years. "It is possible that the government may talk of assurances to farmers and even deploy some of its ministers to temporarily confuse them," the Sena, an ally of the ruling BJP in Maharashtra and at the Centre, said in an editorial in its mouthpiece 'Saamana'.
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The farmers reached Mumbai on Sunday after walking a distance of 180 km from Nashik. The rally includes men, women and children who have gathered to press the government on the agrarian distress.
The farmers' delegation led by All India Kisan Sabha leaders reached the Maharashtra Assembly at 1 pm. They will be meeting Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to discuss their demands and later take a call on if the protesters gathered at Azad Maidan should march to Vidhan Bhavan.
Speaking to CNN-News18, BJP MP Poonam Mahajan said that the farmers' protest is fuelled by 'urban maoism'. "They (farmers) are holding the flag of Communists, and urban maoists are misguiding them," she said. "If you have seen this march, a big and peaceful march, with farmers holding a communist flag and they've all come from northern Maharashtra. With respect to all this, what do all these farmers want? They have accepted the loan waiver has happened. When the chief minister sits with the farmer leaders, they'll sort out the issues," Mahajan said earlier.
The opposition Congress, NCP, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena and also Shiv Sena, which is part of the BJP-led ruling alliance in the state, have extended support to the farmers demands. MNS chief Raj Thackeray and Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray met the farmers yesterday. In November last year, the state government announced a farm loan waiver, terming it the "biggest loan waiver in Maharashtras history".
A twelve-member delegation of the farmers will be meeting the six-member committee in Vidhan Bhavan at 1pm. Leader of Opposition will also participate in the meeting. Farmers reached Azad Maidan early today, after camping at KJ Somaiya Ground in Sion area. The CPI(M)-affiliated All India Kisan Sabha, which is spearheading the protest, said it will consider what the government has to offer. CPI(M) leader Ashok Dhawle said over 50,000 people have joined the protest.
The solar man of Maharashtra farmers protests, Mathu Udar, who mounted a solar panel on his head and charges farmers' phones free of cost..."I got this panel for my house. But when we decided to come here, I thought that I should get this on my head, so that I can charge the panel and charge farmers' phones." When asked about his family, he said, "I have a wife, two children, and three buffaloes." He has four acres forest land and wants its ownership. (Image: Mihir/Network18)
95% of the protestors are tribals, so they are technically not farmers.. I will meet the farmers at 1 pm...The Cabinet Ministers are looking int the demands...We have called farmers delegation at 1pm for a meeting with the committee. The outcome will be positive. Will decide on a timeline to fulfill demands of farmers, says Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis in State Assembly.
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