Kisan Long March ends: Most demands accepted, except the complete loan waiver and MSP

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Kisan Long March ends: Most demands accepted, except the complete loan waiver and MSP

Farmers received strong support from Mumbaikars and on social media

AgriNation News Network

Mumbai| 12 March 2018

Finally, a victory! The grit of over 50000 farmers who walked almost 200 kilometres from Nashik to Mumbai braving heat and hardships brought Maharashtra government to its knees. On Monday evening, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis accepted most of the farmers’ demands and promised to address the agitators’ issues in a time-bound manner. Farmers called off their protest after the assurance from Chief Minister. Farmers received strong support from Mumbaikars and on social media.

The assurances from government include the transfer of forest land being tilled by tribal cultivators for decades, under the Forest Rights Act, 2006, within six months. However, the government has not acceded to farmers’ demand for a complete farm-loan waiver. It said that it was willing to bring a new resolution to consider up to Rs 1.50 lakh loans taken by both husband and wife for waiver. On Minimum Support Price (MSP) for crops, the state government was ready to give 50% of MSP, provided the Centre picks up the remaining tab.

“We have accepted most of their demands and have submitted a letter,” Chief Minister Fadnavis said after meeting representatives of the Akhil Bhartiya Kisan Sabha (ABKS) at the Vidhan Bhavan complex here.

“We have agreed to set up a committee to hand over forest land used for farming, to tribals and farmers, provided they submit a proof of pre-2005 land cultivation. We have accepted almost all of their demands,” Fadnavis added.

“The Chief Secretary will follow-up on this and implementation will start in six months”, said the state government.  

“After the government accepted our demands in writing and assured to implement them in a time-bound manner, I asked the farmers to go back to their homes,” Sitaram Yechury, a senior leader of CPI (M) told reporters.

Noted journalist and Ramon Magsaysay Award Winner P Sainath also congratulated the farmers and demanded a 20-day-long special session of Parliament to discuss the “agrarian crisis” in the country.

Addressing farmers on Monday afternoon, Sitaram Yechury compared their agitation to the historic Dandi March undertaken by Mahatma Gandhi to protest the British salt tax.

He said, “No country can move forward if its food providers are not given their due respect. Farmers are the backbone of the country. This rally is quite similar to Dandi March.”

He slammed Modi government for waiving of corporate loans worth Rs 2.40 lakh crore and for asking farmers to pay every penny of their loans, forcing them to commit suicide while loan defaulters from corporate world were moving around scot free.

Farmers were demanding a complete farm loan waiver, transfer of forest land to tillers, implementation of the Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations, compensation of Rs 40,000 per acre to farmers hit by hailstorm and pink bollworm and putting a stop to sharing the state’s water with Gujarat.

The former tribal affair minister and former Forest Minister Madhukar Pichad, said, ”The forest department has a rigid view on the transfer of land to tribals. This mindset needs to be changed. The erstwhile UPA government had initiated a review of transfer of such lands which the current dispensation discontinued which should be revived now.”

Earlier on Monday, BJP MP Poonam Mahajan left BJP red faced after she called that farmers and tribals protesting in Maharashtra were being misguided by “urban Maoists”