Thousands Begin Kisan March 2.0 from Nashik to Mumbai After Failed Late-Night Talks With Govt
The farmers embarked on the 180-km march from Nashik over demands including a loan waiver and minimum support price for crops. The All India Kisan Sabha also accused the state government of not fulfilling assurances given almost a year ago after the farmers had staged a march for similar demands.
Mumbai: Thousands of farmers have embarked on a 180-km march from Nashik to Mumbai for the second time in the last 12 months to protest against what they termed as the "betrayal" of peasants by the BJP governments at the state and centre.
The march organisers on Thursday said that the decision to continue the march was taken after late night parleys with Maharashtra government remained inconclusive.
“We have started our long march, though the police have refused us permission. We had a meeting with cabinet minister Girish Mahajan late last night. He was positive about our demands. But we have told them that this time, we will not listen to oral assurances. We want a written assurance from the Chief Minister of Maharashtra. Till that time, we will continue our march,” Ashok Dhawale of the All India Kisan Sabha leader told CNN News18 in Nashik.
The farmers reached Nashik late night on Tuesday after the State police finally allowed their vehicles to travel. According to local reports, tens of trucks, tractors and tempos were stopped at various places by the Maharashtra police on Wednesday. The police said the farmers were not allowed to travel to the protest destination. But the police relented after the media raised the issue.
The State government has said it cannot give in to demands that have been made in light of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
“They can’t have everything their way. We have already told them that the government has fulfilled all the legitimate demands. As the elections come close, they want to make sure that the farmers walk all the way from Nashik to Mumbai. This is not okay. We won’t allow them. And they can’t make the farmers walk for issues like allotment of ration cards,” Maharashtra cabinet minister Girish Mahajan told CNN News18.
When asked about his position on the demands like the complete implementation of farm loan waiver and drought relief measures he said the government had already committed itself to fulfilling them.
However, the activists claim that of the Rs 34,000 Crore farm loan waiver package announced by the government, only Rs 17,000 Crore was allotted. In fact, according to them, the disbursement process has been stopped.
“The CM agreed that it had been halted as some loopholes had been found in the current implementation. They said they will first fix those. But how long will it take?” Dhawle asked.
Meanwhile, another round of talks is expected to take place today afternoon, where Girish Mahajan is likely to present the farmers with a letter of assurance from the Chief Minister. Till that time, thousands of farmers from across the State will continue their silent march.