Mumbai, Mar 11: Over 35,000 farmers will march to the Maharashtra Vidhan Sabha in Mumbai, concluding the Kisan Long March today, March 12. The All India Kisan Sabha protest march, that began from Nashik on Tuesday, March 6, reached Mumbai today and will end at the Maharashtra Assembly at Nariman Point on Monday. The farmers are seeking a complete loan waiver among other demands.
The Maharashtra government got into action mode as the farmers’ march entered Mumbai on Sunday. A committee of six ministers comprising Chandrakant Patil, Pandurang Fundkar, Girish Mahajan, Vishnu Savara, Subhash Deshmukh and Eknath Shinde, has been reportedly formed to look into the matter of farmers’ demands.
Meanwhile, the Maharashtra government also advised the students appearing for the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) examination on Monday to reach their exam centres before time in view of traffic expected in South Mumbai with farmers marching to the Vidhan Sabha.
Maharashtra Education Minister Vinod Tawde tweeted, “In light of Kisan Long March, SSC students appearing for exams tomorrow are advised to ensure that they reach exam centres well beforehand to avoid delays. Concerned officials are hereby instructed to ensure safety & well-being of the students, safeguarding their academic future.”
However, the Kisan Sabha changed its plan and decided to march to Azad Maidan to reduce the inconvenience being caused to students heading for their exams today. Reports say that the 35,000 farmers decided to march from Somaiyya Ground in Sion, where they were earlier scheduled to camp overnight, to Azad Maidan at midnight to ensure students face minimum inconvenience while going for their exams.
Shiv Sena-MNS Extend Support
Shiv Sena, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) have also extended their support to the farmers’ agitation. MNS President Raj Thackeray visited the agitating farmers at Somaiya ground on Sunday and said,”Nothing will happen from BJP govt. For this govt (BJP) your value is only for election.”
“You have always been taken for granted. You have my full support for this march. Give me a chance, whenever you will need me, I will be there for you,” the MNS president had assured.
On Friday night, senior Shiv Sena minister Eknath Shinde met leaders of the agitation and gave them party chief Uddhav Thackeray’s message to support them.
Arrangements at Azad Maidan, Mumbai Police Step up Security
The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai made arrangements at Azad Maidan for the Kisan Morcha. Over 40 mobile toilets were installed at the grounds. Four water tankers were stationary at Azad Maidan. An ambulance as well as extra manpower were also put in place at both Azad Maidan and Somaiyya college.
Meanwhile, as the farmers entered Mumbai, they were served by Mumbaikars with food and water on the roads of the city. While volunteers distributed water bottles to them, the Sikh community in Mumbai served food to the marching farmers.
The Mumbai Police have deployed 700 personnel on the roads to ensure smooth movement of traffic and peaceful march. As the march concludes at Maharashtra Assembly today, it remains to be seen whether their demands will be met.