Mumbai, Jun 1 (PTI) Stray incidents of violence, including attempts to disrupt supply of vegetables and milk to Mumbai and other cities, marked farmers’ protests today in Maharashtra.
The farmers in parts of the state had launched an agitation today to press various demands including a loan waiver.
Some groups of farmers in Satara, Kolhapur and Nashik tried to disrupt supplies of milk and vegetables to Mumbai last night as part of the indefinite strike called by various farm sector outfits.
Though Mumbai-based traders claimed they have not been affected by the stir as of now, they fear supplies from production centres across the state would be affected in the coming days if the strike prolongs.
Kolhapur District Cooperative Milk Society Ltd, known as Gokul Dairy, alleged in a complaint filed in a police station in Satara that its tanker was attacked this morning when it was carrying milk to Mumbai.
Satara police control room officials confirmed a case has been filed against unidentified people for damaging the tanker.
Police in several districts have decided to provide protection to milk tankers heading towards the metropolis.
“We have requested the police to provide security to our tankers. If tankers are targeted, the milk will go waste and dairy farmers will incur losses,” Dattatray Ghanekar, MD of Gokul Dairy, told PTI.
“Gokul Dairy alone supplies seven lakh litres of milk per day to Mumbai, which has a daily need of 55,000 lakh litres. We are trying to keep our supplies uninterrupted as Mumbai is the biggest market for us,” he said.
Police officials from Nashik, Satara and Ahmednagar districts confirmed that adequate security was being provided to vegetable and milk suppliers.
“The vegetable and fruit supplies have remained largely unaffected in the Navi Mumbai Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) yard, which supplies produce to Mumbai and some neighbouring districts. There has been no change in the quantity we get every day from traders and farmers,” Satish Soni, administrator of Navi Mumbai APMC, told PTI.
The average supply of vegetables to Navi Mumbai APMC is around 7,000 tonne, he said.
In Aurangabad, the stir took a violent turn when vegetable traders manhandled farmers for asking them to close down their shops.
Police said some agitating farmers asked traders at Jadhavwadi area to shut their shops. Infuriated by this, some labourers and shop owners manhandled farmers and their leaders. The agitators also tried to throw away their vegetables on road.
No one was injured, they said, adding some farmers and labourers were detained in connection with the violence.
Meanwhile, many farmers emptied milk from containers in large quantities on road in Shioor village of Aurangabad district.
In Nashik, the local APMC yard wore a deserted look as farmers did not turn up to auction their agriculture produce.
Vegetable markets in Nashik and other parts of the district saw rush of people last night to buy food items before the strike got under way.
Farmer outfits spearheading the stir have been demanding waiver of agriculture loans and better price for their produce, among other things.
In Nashik, cultivators are also opposing the proposed Mumbai-Nagpur `Samruddhi Corridor’ (Prosperity Corridor), a superhighway project which will require acquisition of farm land.
Farmers gave the strike call after their talks with the Maharashtra government failed two days ago. As part of the strike, farmers have decided not to sell their produce.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.