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Thousands of Farmers March to Mumbai, Traffic to be Hit in Dadar and Parel

The march started with 5,000 farmers from Thane, around 23km from the city, and has reached south Mumbai’s Byculla area, bringing traffic there to a halt.

News18.com

Updated:November 22, 2018, 1:25 PM IST
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Thousands of Farmers March to Mumbai, Traffic to be Hit in Dadar and Parel
Tribals and farmers from north Maharashtra, Vidarbha, Ahmednagar and other parts of the state are taking part in the march. (Photo: News18 grab)
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Mumbai: Approximately 20,000 farmers and tribals are marching towards Mumbai's Azad Maidan on Day 2 of their protest for drought compensation, loan waiver, hike in MSP and the transfer of forest rights to tribals.

The march, which started with 5,000 farmers from Thane, around 23km from the city, has reached south Mumbai’s Byculla area, bringing traffic there to a halt. The march will culminate at Azad Maidan, where they will be joined by another 15,000 farmers.

The demands of protesters include implementation of the Swaminathan Committee report, which suggested that farmers must have assured access to and control over resources such as land and water. They are also demanding hike in the MSP and a judicial system to ensure its implementation.

The Chief Minister’s Office has promised to meet the farmers’ delegation at 1:30 pm.

The Mumbai Police assured it is prepared to handle the large protest march that is making its way through south Mumbai and has issued traffic advisories so that people are not inconvenienced.

Commuters en route Parel, Lalbagh and Dadar have been advised to avoid the main flyovers. Traffic in south Mumbai is expected to be affected when the protesters reach Vidhan Bhawan where the Legislative session of the Maharashtra Assembly is underway.

Eight months ago, farmers led by the All-India Kisan Sabha had walked 180km from Nashik to Mumbai with similar demands. The march then had received widespread support from Mumbai residents.

“The farmers are carrying 2kg of rice and 1kg of dal. They will camp in Mumbai till the demands are met,” said Pratibha Shinde, general secretary of the Lok Sangharsh Morcha.

They are also seeking proper implementation of the loan waiver package announced by the state government last year, land rights for farmers and compensation for farm labourers, passing of claims under the Forest Rights Act and drought compensation of Rs 50,000 per acre for non-irrigated land and Rs lakh per acre for irrigated land.

Tribals and farmers from north Maharashtra, Vidarbha, Ahmednagar and other parts of the state are taking part in the march. Water conservationist Rajendra Singh, MP Raju Shetti and others will also take part in the rally.

The Maharashtra unit of the Aam Aadmi Party, Janata Dal (Secular) and Peasants and Workers Party have extended their support.

While several people started assembling on Tuesday night, a large number of people, who came by train from various parts of the state, reached the Mulund Octroi Naka on Wednesday morning.

The march started at 1 pm on Wednesday after the protesters had their lunch. Middle-aged farmers, youngsters and a large number of women took part in the protest. The protest has been called by the Lok Sangharsh Morcha.

On Wednesday night, the protesters halted at a ground in Chunabhatti, from where they have decided to start towards Azad Maidan at 5 am on Thursday.
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