Published On: Tue, Mar 13th, 2018

Demands met, Maha stir called off

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Mumbai: Maharashtra farmers, in Mumbai to gherao the state Assembly to press for their demands, called off their protest today after a written assurance by the state government that their grievances would be addressed.

Marching under the banner of the All-India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) for six days, the farmers descended on the country’s financial capital in the wee hours today. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis set up a six-member committee that began talks with a 12-member delegation of farmers. The latter put forth 13 demands.

After deliberations, which lasted two hours, the CM announced that the farmers had called off their protest as the government had accepted all their demands. “Their main demand was the transfer of forest land to tribals who cultivate it.”

On the demand to complete pending irrigation projects in and around Nashik district, where most of the protesters hailed from, Fadnavis said: “We have promised to meet their demands in six months. A six-member committee, headed by the Chief Secretary, has been formed for the purpose.”

The CM said tribals who furnished proof that they had been cultivating forest land before 2005 would be given the land title. In the evening, Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil addressed farmers in the presence of CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury. He said the government had accepted “all demands”.

The farmers undertook the six-day-long march to press for a complete farm loan waiver and for implementation of the Swaminathan Commission recommendations. It is unclear whether the government gave the protesters any assurance on these two demands.

The Maharashtra Government had in June last year announced a cap of Rs 1.5 lakh for waiving crop loan. Though the waiver is pegged at Rs 34,000 crore, less than Rs 14,000 crore has been disbursed so far. “It’s now the duty of the government to work towards fulfilling the farmers’ demands,” veteran social activist Anna Hazare said in a statement.


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