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Why are farmers protesting in Maharashtra

Farmers in Maharashtra staged a massive rally in Mumbai in order to protest against the government’s apathy towards them. Their counterparts in Odisha had organized a similar protest in the state capital which had identical set of demands. About 15,000 farmers came out in a procession which started from Bhubaneshwar’s Master Canteen to Lower PMG.

Whereas in Maharashtra, the farmers organized and spearheaded by All India Kisan Sabha and the farmers’ wing of Communist Party of India are demanding a waiver of the loan and electricity bills in addition to announcing a pension scheme for them. In Odisha, the farmers have asked the government to allocate INR 21,600 crore in the state budget. The Odisha farmers want a pension of INR 5,000 per month to each poor farmer of the state. These farmers covered 180 km in six days so as to reach Mumbai from across Maharashtra on Sunday. They demanded the announcement of a minimum support price for their produce.

The farmers in Odisha are backed by Navnirman Krushak Sangathan which has demanded a hike in the minimum support price of paddy to INR 3,000 per quintal instead of INR 1550 being paid currently. The farmers from Maharashtra are pressing for the implementation of the Swaminathan Commission recommendations. All the farmers protested against the ability of the government to protect them from losses due to crop failure. Maharashtra had announced a loan waiver scheme; but the implementation has not been fruitful.

The national coordinator of the NKS, Kumar, said that the government does not accept that hundreds of farmers have committed suicide due to crop loss and the burden of debt. A waiver in the farm loan will help them. Kumar stated that they have been organizing rallies, demonstrations and movements in the last five years for prestige and pension for the farmers and for good price on their produce. He further mentioned that the demands of farmers are similar across the country and peasants from every corner will soon come out protesting the government’s attitude in solving the problems of the community.

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