Maharashtra: Statewide shutdown called by farmers protesting since June 1

By Staff Reporter

Mumbai: Thousands of farmers from Maharashtra, who started a statewide agitation on June 1 with various demands, have called for a state shutdown after no apparent action was taken by the state government in redressing their grievances.

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Farmers sat on protest demanding waiver of farm loan, lowering the power tarriff, appropriating the remunerative prices for their produce, allowing grants for irrigation, pension for farmers who are more than 60-years-old and implementation of the MS Swaminathan Committee recommendations. Today marks their fifth day of protest, and a statewide shutdown or ‘Maharashtra bandh’ called by these farmers, which was led by Kisan Kranti Morcha (KKM) and backed by Shiv Sena. However, the protesting bodies have excluded Mumbai from their Bandh.

While talking to the press, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said, “We have been vocal about our disappointment over the BJP government on the farmers’ issues as well as on the delay in announcing the loan waiver.” On Sunday, the party decided to participate in the ‘Maharashtra bandh’ agitation, which will exclude Mumbai.”

With taking out the rallies and marches as a form of protests, farmers also blocked the roads ant several places and poured several hundred litres of milk on the roads.

Notably, Nasik and Ahmadnagar are one of the biggest suppliers of vegetables and fruits to the state, the protest around the state has caused prices of fruits and vegetables go up in cities like Mumbai and Pune. Police and administration is trying to protect and provide aid to the suppliers who are taking in agricultural products from adjoining districts and states as the protesting farmers are also stopping trucks and wagons which carry such products in the districts.

However, the news from the government side tells that Fadnavis government in Maharashtra is thinking to waive the loan which will affect around 40 lakh farmers in the state. A meeting was conducted and an announcement was made evening following which a number of farmers agreed to withdraw the protest. However, a large group continues to protest. However the loan, amounting to Rs 30,000 crore, is just a small portion of the public debt which Maharashtra is facing.

The protest has seen the death of one farmer from Ahmadnagar named Ashok More, who lost his life in Police action against protesters.