Farmers end stir after CM Fadnavis concedes demands

Maharashtra tribal farmers has ended their two-day protest march in Mumbai last evening, after Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis assured them that their forest land rights claims will be settled by December this year.

Holding detailed discussions with their delegation, led by Pratibha Shinde, general secretary of Lok Sangharsh Morcha, at secretariat for over two hours, in the presence of senior ministers and officials, Chief Minister also assured to look into all their problems. The government also issued GOs accordingly last night itself.

After the meeting, Pratibha Shinde announced to called off their protest as Chief Minister accepted almost all of their demands. About 10,000 farmers from 19 districts marched to Azad Maidan for redressal of their grievances. She even threatened that they will not move from the Maidan until their are met.

Chief Minister even contacted some district collectors in the presence of the delgation to get feed-back into status of some of their demands.  “We have been consistently asking the state government to fulfil our long-standing demands, but the response was lukewarm. We are forced to launch this agitation,” said Shinde.

The farmers and tribals, who began the two-day march from Thane to Mumbai, reached Azad Maidan early Thursday, eight months after a similar protest was held at the venue. The morcha traversed through Dadar and the JJ flyover before reaching the Maidan, adjacent to the Mumbai municipal corporation headquarters.

Magsaysay award winner Dr Rajendra Singh, also known as Waterman of India, was among the marchers. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has invited the morcha leaders for talks at the Vidhan Bhawan, where the winter session of the state legislature in underway.

The farmers are demanding implementation of the Swaminathan Committee report, which suggested that farmers must have assured access and control over resources such as land and water. They are also demanding an increase in the minimum support price and a judicial system to ensure its implementation.

The farmers, struggling to cope with the agrarian crisis, are demanding proper implementation of the loan waiver package announced by the BJP-led government in the state last year, land rights for farmers and compensation for farm labourers.

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