50,000 farmers are expected to participate in 'long march' from Nashik to Mumbai
Nashik: For the second time in a year, thousands of farmers are marching for their rights after talks with the Maharashtra government remained inconclusive last night. After spending the night without food and shelter over their heads at Nashik maidan, farmers this morning started their march. They will walk 180 km from Nashik to Mumbai on foot, protesting what they call "betrayal" by the BJP governments at the state and Centre. The 'Kisan Long March', organised by Left party CPI(M)-backed All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) is expected to take over nine days to complete. Farmers are demanding loan waiver, minimum support price for crops, irrigation facilities and pension for agriculturists.
Here are the top 10 points about the farmers long march
- Around 50,000 farmers likely to join the protest march - from Nashik to Mumbai today. Many farmers could not reach Nashik due to the police action, alleged the farmers body AIKS.
- Maharashtra minister Girish Mahajan met some AIKS representatives in Nashik Wednesday night and assured them that he would speak to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
- "We held talks with the minister for over three hours. He appeared positive to 80 per cent of our demands and said will give us in writing but farmers will go ahead with the march till the government does so," said AIKS chief Ashok Dhawale.
- The farmers are also opposing the multi-billion dollar Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project as many farmers would lose their land. A number of them have also approach the court against land acquisition.
- Earlier, many Left-leaning outfits accused the police of taking "suppressive" steps against cultivators wanting to participate in the peaceful long march.
- The police action reflect how nervous the BJP-led state government is, alleged the farmers' body. Farmers on their way to Nashik from Thane and Palghar were allegedly stopped by the police at Jawhar, Dahanu and Vikramgad.
- Farmers' leaders condemned the alleged measures taken by the government and the police against Maharashtra AIKS general secretary Ajit Nawale.
- The All India Congress Committee secretary, Ashish Dua, called the Maharashtra government "incompetent, inefficient and insensitive to the demands of farmers". He alleged that the "real issues of farmer suicides, MSP, loan waivers haven't been addressed." Mr Dua said.
- The Maharashtra Aam Aadmi Party condemned the police "crackdown on farmers". AAP called the action "draconian" and expressed solidarity with the protesters. "We have been receiving disturbing reports of police crackdown on farmers across the state, including the arrest of a few farmer leaders," said Ranga Rachure, AAP state co-convener.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi will formally launch the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme from Gorakhpur on February 24. Under the scheme, the Centre will pay the first installment of Rs 2000 in the bank account of beneficiary farmers. About one crore farmers will be given the first installment.
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