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CM Devendra Fadnavis Meets Farmers Protesting in Mumbai, Says Land Rights Claims Will be Settled

The farmers are demanding implementation of the Swaminathan Committee report and proper implementation of the loan waiver package announced by the BJP-led government in the state last year.

News18.com

Updated:November 22, 2018, 8:13 PM IST
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Mumbai: About 20,000 farmers and tribals, demanding compensation for drought and transfer of forest rights, on Thursday met Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who assured them that their claims will be settled by December this year.

The farmers marched to Azad Maidan, eight months after a similar protest was held at the venue, after traversing through Dadar and the JJ flyover. The state government reportedly offered the protesting farmers buses from Sion but they refused, saying they preferred to walk.

Magsaysay award winner Dr Rajendra Singh, also known as Waterman of India, was among the marchers. He blamed the government for drought, which he termed as "man-made".

The farmers are demanding implementation of the Swaminathan Committee report, which suggested that farmers must have assured access and control over resources such as land and water. They are also demanding an increase in the minimum support price and a judicial system to ensure its implementation.

The farmers, struggling to cope with the agrarian crisis, are demanding proper implementation of the loan waiver package announced by the BJP-led government in the state last year, land rights for farmers and compensation for farm labourers.

"We have been consistently asking the state government to fulfil our long-standing demands, but the response has been lukewarm. We are forced to launch this agitation," said Pratibha Shinde, general secretary of Lok Sangharsh Morcha, which is organising the protest.

Tribal welfare minister Vishnu Savra said 3.6 lakh claims were received, of which 1.74 lakh have been settled in favour of the tribals. Similarly, 12,000 claims for community forest activity were also received, of which7,700 have been settled, he said.

In March, thousands of farmers, led by the Left-affiliated All India Kisan Sabha, took out a 180-km long march from Nashik to Mumbai in March to press for their demands. That protest saw a sea of red, formed by farmers in red caps, converge in Mumbai from across Maharashtra. The march then had received widespread support from Mumbai residents.

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