Move could hinder supply of essentials to city.
Mumbai: Farmers across the state will enforce road blockades on Monday to protest against the government’s alleged failure to fulfil their demands related to unconditional farm loan waiver and remunerative prices for agriculture produce, among other things. This will be the second state-level agitation by farmers since their week-long violent stir in June. In a first for the agitation, sources said that it would see the participation of students as well.
Confirming the plan, Dr Ajit Nawale, general secretary of Shetkari Sukanu Samiti (Farmers’ steering committee) said that farmers throughout Maharashtra would stage spontaneous road blockades in their respective areas. “The agitation will begin at 11 am and will be for one day only. If the government does not relent, we will have to consider further agitations,” Dr Nawale told The Asian Age on Sunday.
The agitation is likely to affect the supply of essential commodities like milk and bread in Mumbai and other metro places though the Maharashtra Truck Owners Association said that it would see the situation and decide on plying of trucks.
Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMCs) throughout the state would open for business on Monday, APMC sources said but added that they could not say whether farmers would bring their produce for sale. Dr Nawale said that about 89,00,000 farmers in Maharashtra have taken various loans and hope to benefit by the loan waiver. “The Vidyarthi Yuvak Sanghatana Sukanu Samiti (VYSSS), a state-level body, had thrown its weight behind the agitation. The education institutions where VYSSS has members will remain closed on Monday,” he said.
The Sukanu Samiti has demanded that the loan waiver include all farm loans like crop loan, medium term loan, microfinance, credit societies, financial institutions, private money lenders, loans on drip irrigation, minimum remunerative rate of farm produce which should include the production cost along with the addition of 50 per cent and implementation of the Swaminathan Committee recommendations, among other demands.
Opposition to scheme
Shetkari Sanghatana (SS) president Anil Ghanwat said that they were opposed to the loan waiver scheme and preferred that the government should not meddle in farm produce prices. “We want the farmers to become capable. The government may waive loans worth Rs 1,27,000 crore, but will also decide prices. After two years, farmers will again be obliged to demand another loan waiver because their prices have been set by the government, and they will not be able to make any profit. Secondly, the implementation of Swaminathan Commission recommendations are not practical,” Mr Ghanwat told The Asian Age.