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Farmers continue ‘long march’ from Nashik to Mumbai to seek complete loan waiver

Indian farmers-march

The farmers, who began the 180-km-long march last evening from the CBS chowk in Central Nashik, took a night halt and resumed their journey today on the Mumbai-Agra National Highway.

Nearly 25,000 farmers on Wednesday continued their “long march” from Nashik to Mumbai to press for their various demands, including a complete loan waiver.

The farmers, who began the 180-km-long march last evening from the CBS chowk in Central Nashik, took a night halt and resumed their journey today on the Mumbai-Agra National Highway.

They plan to ‘gherao’ the Maharashtra Vidhan Sabha after reaching Mumbai on March 12 for resolution of their issues, said Sunil Malusare of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), which has organised the march.

The farmers have been demanding a complete waiver of loans and electricity bills, and the implementation of recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission.

“We also want the state government to refrain from forceful acquisition of farm lands in the name of development projects like the super highway and the bullet train,” AIKS secretary Raju Desle earlier said.

He accused the Centre and the state government of adopting “anti-farmer” policies.

Notably, the government had announced the loan waiver last year following unprecedented protests by farmers in various parts of the state.

Desle claimed that as many as 1,753 farmers have killed themselves since June last year when the BJP-led state government announced a conditional farm loan waiver of Rs 34,000 crore.

AIKS national president Ashok Dhavle, local MLA J P Gavit and other leaders were leading the long march.

Dhavle earlier alleged that the BJP government had betrayed the farmers by not honouring the assurances given to them.

“We will demand a complete change in the river linking scheme proposed to be implemented in Nashik, Thane and Palghar, so as to ensure that tribal villages are not submerged and water is made available to these districts and other drought-prone areas,” he said.

Farmers are also demanding the transfer of forest land to those who have been tilling it for years and an increase in the compensation for peasants whose crops were damaged in the recent hailstorms and pink bollworm infestation.

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