Update: The farmers who are protesting reached Mumbai on Sunday and gathered at Azad Maidan today morning at around 7 am.
On March 6, thousands of farmers began a march from Nashik town. The farmers are scheduled to reach Mumbai on Sunday, March 11 and cover approximately 170 kilometres.
The plan is to gherao the state legislative assembly building in a bid to protest the yet to be fulfilled promises of the BJP-led Maharashtra government.
The Times of India has reported that police sources have told them that the protesters will not be allowed to reach the venue and they will be stopped at Azad Maidan.
What Are The Demands Of The Farmers?
1. Full waiver of electricity bills and loans.
2. Implementation of Swaminathan Commission recommendations which include:
a) Minimum support prices for farmers.
b) Interests of small farmers must be safeguarded.
The Swaminathan Commission reports consist of a series of five reports which was submitted to the Government of India by the National Commission on Farmers from December 2004 to October 2006. There were suggestions in the reports for farmers to have ‘faster and more inclusive growth’.
3. Forest land to be transferred to those who have been tilling forest land for years.
Many of the villagers who are taking part in the protest march feel harassed by the forest officials. According to a report in The Wire, a farmer called Waghere said, “In spite of promises [to give land rights to Adivasi farmers under the Forest Rights Act of 2006] we are not owners of the land.”
4. An increase in remuneration for peasants who had their crops damaged in the hailstorms, etc.
Who Is Organising The March?
The march is being organised by the farmers’ collective of the CPI(M) called the Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Sabha. General Secretary of the Kisan Sabha Ajit Navale told The Wire, “In 2015, we had protested for the farmers to get their [rights to the] forest land, better rates for crops, a loan waiver and so on.”
What Is The Current Status Of The March?
According to a report in News18.com, they have covered a distance of around 150 kilometres.
What Has The Government Response Been To This So Far?
There has been absolutely no official response by anyone in the government to the protesters.
Farmer Suicides In Maharashtra
There were 2,414 farmer suicides reported in the state of Maharashtra from January 1 to October 31, 2017.
The farmer suicides continued even after the Maharashtra government announced a farm loan waiver of ₹34,022 crore in June 2017.