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Published On: Mon, Mar 12th, 2018

Farmers Stir called off: Maharashtra govt accepts demands

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nationalherald_2018-03_b1b6d631-9dad-460c-88aa-1ec178752d62_1bb00918-fc8f-43d6-99aa-74178517a0fdMUMBAi:  The protest in Mumbai has been called off after the farmers reached an agreement with the Devendra Fadnavis government. The government has agreed to give a written draft of the solutions to their concerns within the next two months.

A 12-member delegation of the protesting farmers had met a six-member government committee, even as a statement by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis angered the farmers further.

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.

Making a statement on the floor of the Assembly, Fadnavis said 95% of those camping at Mumbai’s Azad Maidan are tribals and “technically” not farmers. Farmer leaders have called the statement a lie, accusing the government of trying to “discredit” the protest.

In what may snowball into another controversy, BJP MP Poonam Majahan called the protesting farmers “urban Maoists”. Hitting back, Left leader MB Rajesh advised her to “read the newspapers”. The farmers, who have banded together under the Left-affiliated All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), reached Mumbai yesterday afternoon after a gruelling 180km journey for six days from Nashik.

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.”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.

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.

The large numbers farmers of the All Indian Kisan Sabha (AIKS), who set out on a protest march from Nashik last week, met a government panel  on Monday.

Irrigation Minister Girish Mahajan said the government has agreed to their demands. “The government has agreed on 100% demands, including transfer of land title,” he said. The farmers have agreed to withdraw the protest, he said, adding that a special train has been arranged for them to return home.

The farmers intended to gherao the Vidhan Bhavan in Mumbai on Monday and voice their demands, which include a complete farm loan waiver, implementation of the recommendations of the M.S. Swaminathan Commission, providing forest rights and better compensation for land acquired by the government.

Ashok Chavan said Maharashtra has the highest suicide rate. The farmers walked all the way to have their problems resolved by the government and not just to talk. This is not a politically motivated rally but a real issue. I appeal to the government to take this seriously.”
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said 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.

Mr. Fadnavis was responding to a discussion in the Assembly, initiated by Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, who lauded the farmers participating in the ‘Kisan Long March’ for their peaceful protest while demanding a complete loan waiver and compensation for hailstorm and pink bollworm pest attack on crops.

Azad Maidan in south Mumbai turned into a sea of red this morning as thousands of farmers, carrying red flags, converged here after walking around 180 kms under blazing sun over the last six days.

Shiv Sena leader Aditya Thackeray addresses the rally, says: “I promise you today, Shiv Sena will support this movement in whatever way we can. No matter what our colour is, we are from the land. Despite being from different parties, our demands are the same. We don’t believe in Karz Maafi (loan waiver), Maafi is for criminals. We demand Karz Mukti.( With Agency Inputs).

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