Mumbai: Thousands of farmers and tribals under the aegis of Lok Sangharsh Morcha, who began their two- day march yesterday from Thane, are now proceeding to Azad Maidan in South Mumbai. Due to the farmers’ march, traffic congestion has been reported in the state. Also Read - Criticising State Govt Now Criminal? Twitter Calls Mumbai Police's Gag Order 'Unacceptable'
The farmers are demanding assured access and control over resources such as land and water, as mandated in the Swaminathan Committee report. They are also demanding an increase in the Minimum Support Price and a judicial system to ensure its implementation. Notably, a similar protest was witnessed eight months ago in Nashik. Traffic snarls were reported from across the Maharashtra capital as farmers from Thane, Nashik and other parts of the state marched towards Azad Maidan. Also Read - Locust Menace: UP, Maharashtra, Punjab on High Alert; Centre Steps up Efforts; Drones to be Deployed Soon
They will reach Azad Maidan and will try to hold a demonstration near Vidhan Bhawan, where the state legislature session is underway, a leader of the march said. The participants are mostly from Thane, Bhusawal and Marathwada regions, he said. Also Read - COVID-19: Maharashtra Records 105 Deaths, 2190 Cases in Last 24 Hours, Total Tally at 56948
Speaking to ANI, general secretary of the Lok Sangharsh Morcha Pratibha Shinde said, “We will definitely meet the Chief Minister and put forward our demands. Only after the meeting, we will be able to decide whether the government and we are on the same page or not. In the last six months, the government has not even done even two per cent of the works they promised to us.”
In the wake of the march, police officials would be on a lookout so that the matter doesn’t get out of hand. If need be, security will be tightened up after observing the ground situation in the city, police officials told Times of India.
The farmers, struggling to cope with the agrarian crisis, are demanding proper implementation of the loan waiver package announced by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government in the state last year, land rights for farmers and compensation for farm labourers.
“We have been consistently asking the state government to fulfil our long-standing demands but the response has been lukewarm. We are forced to launch this agitation,” said Pratibha Shinde.
“We are taking maximum care to ensure that Mumbai citizens are not inconvenienced,” Shinde said.
In March, thousands of farmers, led by the Left-affiliated All India Kisan Sabha, took out a 180 km long march from Nashik to Mumbai in March to press for their demands. That protest saw a sea of red, formed by farmers in red caps, converge in Mumbai from across Maharashtra.
(With PTI inputs)