AIKS-led farmers’ march culminates in five-day protest near Mumbai
Among many demands, the march seeks favorable prices for onions and some other goods.
On March 17, a 15,000-strong farming unit under the banner of the Kisan Long March ended its fifth day of protest. The march, led by the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), started on 12 March from Dindori in Nashik district with the intention of reaching Mumbai, currently camped at Maidan Idga on the Mumbai-Nashik Highway.
The farmers said they would only disband the march after the state government presented its demands in the Assembly Hall on March 18.
AIKS said in a statement that after meeting with Chief Minister of Maharashtra Eknat Shinde, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, six ministers and several bureaucrats, AIKS decided to stop the protest as negotiations ended on a “positive note” with the state government. adherence to most of the 15 points of the charter of demands of farmers”.
However, until the protocol of the decision is laid out on the floor and instructions for its implementation are not sent to the District Commissioners and district collectors, the march will remain on the road.
AIKS also stated that in the Charter of Claims, the most important requirement was favorable prices, especially for onions, but also for cotton, soybeans, tur, green gram, milk and khirda. The march demands 2,000 rupees per quintal of onions and an immediate subsidy of 600 rupees per quintal, as well as changes in export policy.
Other important requirements are the complete renunciation of loans to the peasantry; waiving unpaid electricity bills and providing 12-hour daily electricity supply; compensation by the state and insurance companies for damage caused to peasants by unseasonal rains and other natural disasters; transfer of all forest lands, pastures, temples, inams, waqfs and lands of bens to the names of farmers; an increase in the Prime Minister’s Housing Scheme subsidy from 1.40 lakh to 5 lakh, as well as a new survey and the inclusion of applicants’ names on the “D” list.
In addition, the protesters are demanding compensation in cases of necessary land acquisition under the Kerala formula; an increase in the old-age pension and special pension to Rs 4,000 per month; reinstatement of the old pension scheme for civil servants who joined after 2005; providing a 100% subsidy to schools with partial support; closing all vacancies in government positions; registration of all contract workers and scheme workers as civil servants; removal of fake adivasis from government posts and replacing them with real adivasis.
This is the third mass protest by farmers from Nashik. In March 2018, around 50,000 farmers came to Mumbai demanding similar action. The state government assured them that their demands would be met. With little progress made, farmers moved to Mumbai again in February 2019. AIKS said farmers have calmed down, but the government has not given any guarantees.