South Mumbai turned red as more than 30 thousand of farmers with red flags marched to gather for a protest at the Azad Maidan today.
The farmers demand an unconditional loan waiver and transfer of forest land to tribal farmers that is tilled for years. They looked to surround the Assembly complex for the cause. The farmers also want an implementation of Swaminathan Committee report.
Many of these are tribal farmers who cultivate in forests and possess no land. The protest will continue to take place until the government agrees to meet the demands put by them.
The CPI(M)- affiliated All India Kishan Sabha is spearheading the protest.
The farmers covered a walking distance of 180 kilometers from Nashik under the sun in last six days.
The crowd that included children, woman and elderly had camped at KJ Somaiya Ground in Sion before they reached the Maidan.
The govt. announced the loan waiver in November 2017. The state Governor Vidyasagar Rao informed the state legislature that the government has transferred over Rs 12,000 crore into bank accounts of 31 lakh farmers last month.
The Maharashtra Govt. says it is open to talks to end the protest.
A former leader told the media,” agricultural income has swiftly declined in the country. Income in cotton, grains, and pulses is declining day by day. That’s why the rural economy is gradually running out of money.”
Sakhubai, a 65-year-old woman farmer from Nashik, told the media “we need our land and that is our prime demand. I have injured my feet due to excessive walking but will continue to protest until demands are met”
Dharamraj Singh, one of the organizers of the march, spoke “The government should give us land ownership as it’s our right as tribal people.”
Since last many decades, India is affected by drought. There is depleting water and lack of modernization. 50% of the population is involved in farming but it only contributes 15 percent to the country’s GDP. Many farmers commit suicide as crops fail.