NASHIK/MUMBAI — For the third time in five years, thousands of farmers will start marching to Mumbai in a ‘long march’ from Monday, for their various demands that remain pending, the organisers said here.
The long march — coming after similar marches in 2018 and 2019 — will traverse around 175 kms and has attracted farmers from all over the state who converged in Nashik on Sunday and will start their ‘walkathon’ in the scorching summer heat to Mumbai on Monday afternoon.
Among the demands are Minimum Support Price (MSP) for onions, writing off of farmers’ loans, suitable price for agriculture produce, power bills waivers, quick compensation for crop losses due to unseasonal rains-hail, forest land rights, etc.
Led by former 7-time CPI(M) MLA Jiva Pandu Gavit, the participants who include ASHA workers, and representatives of the unorganised sectors, were waving the party flags and placards with slogans ‘Give MSP to Onion’, etc, and at some points they emptied sacks or baskets of onions to highlight their plight owing to the plummeting prices.
“We want a subsidy of Rs. 600/quintal of onion, there should be bulk export and onion should be procured in bulk from NAFED at a minimum price of Rs. 2,000/quintal,” Gavit and other farmers leaders demanded.
The farmers have sought regularisation of encroachers on forest lands upto 4 hectares with names in the 7/12 documents, waiver of power bills and making electricity available 12 hours daily for farmlands, clear the 7/12 of farmers by waiving off their entire agriculture loans, NDRF amount of compensation for all crop damages due to unseasonal rains and other natural calamities that hit round the year.
They also demanded quick compensation and curb the aloot’ by crop insurance companies, create an independent system for regular inspection of milk meters and weighing forks for milk and a minimum price of Rs 47 for cow milk and Rs. 67 for buffalo milk and stop the conspiracy to slash prices of soybean, cotton, tur and grams, re-start selling grain along with free rations on ration cards every month,
Earlier in 2018, around 40,000 farmers had marched to Mumbai, and in 2019 they again walked down but the then government facing an election year, had agreed to accept the peasants’ demands after which it was called off, and Monday’s long march is starting on the same route. — IANS