Thousands of farmers marched up in Maharashtra for six days to demand loan waivers, fair prices for their produce and other help as India’s agriculture sector struggles from years of declining earnings. Finally, today, CM Devendra Fadnavis said that his government was “sensitive and positive” towards the demands of farmers.
The march was named as ‘Kisan Long March’ with an aim to conduct peaceful protest while demanding a complete loan waiver and compensation for hailstorm and pink bollworm pest attack on crops. Tens of thousands of farmers from western Indian state of Maharashtra marched for six days from Nasik to Mumbai in order to draw attention of the administration towards their issues. All they want is for the government to ensure they earn at least one and a half cost they incur in producing their crops. Today (March 12), Fadnavis government had asked all the peaceful protestors to gather up at Azad Maidan in South Mumbai.
Early morning today, the Azad ground was converted in to a sea of red as farmers flocked up with red caps and flags after walking for 6 days, covering 180 kilometres from Nasik to Mumbai. While the basic demand was to ensure that farmers earn at least one and half times the cost that was spend in producing crops, there were other significant demands too. Still there are a number of tribespeople who have farmed for some lands for generations which they don’t own but are demanding recognition of ownership. The rain-droughts and flawed water policies have hit the farming sector harder – forcing poor farmers to borrow money at high interests for buying agricultural commodities.
This isn’t the first time that farmers have taken it to the streets for their problems to be heard and solved by the government, however, no actions have been taken so far. Commenting on the march, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said lauded the peaceful protest approach and said that 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. Let’s see if the hardships of the long march pays off to poor farmers, or it betrays just like the agricultural seasons.