Radio City's RJ Archana visits farmers at Azad Maidan
The farmers plan to surround the Assembly complex to press for their demands of an unconditional loan waiver, and transfer of forest land to tribal farmers who have been tilling it for years
A protesting farmer at Azad Maidan
Radio City's RJ Archana Pania visited the Azad Maidan on Monday and spoke to the farmers about their grievances.
Here's what she wrote on her Facebook page
The farmers have walked close to 200 kms from #Nasik to #mumbai ... what all r their major concerns and how have they endured this Long trek in the sun heat and dust ... also want to thank them for their lovely produce you and I enjoy in our cushy homes ... thank them for our health and happiness!
Azad Maidan in south Mumbai turned into a sea of red on Monday morning as thousands of farmers, carrying red flags, converged here after walking around 180 kms under blazing sun over the last six days.
The farmers plan to surround the Assembly complex to press for their demands of an unconditional loan waiver, and transfer of forest land to tribal farmers who have been tilling it for years. They reached Azad Maidan early today, after camping at KJ Somaiya Ground in Sion area. The CPI(M)-affiliated All India Kisan Sabha, which is spearheading the protest, said it will consider what the government has to offer.
CPI(M) leader Ashok Dhawle said over 50,000 people have joined the protest. "We will begin our rally after 11 am today so that students appearing for their Class 10 board exam don't face any difficulties," he said.
Tribals from Thane district have joined the farmers from Nashik district in the protest. Maharashtra minister Girish Mahajan, who welcomed the march at Mulund in suburban Mumbai yesterday, said the government, which has met earlier demands by farmers, will consider their latest ones.
The opposition Congress, NCP, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena and also Shiv Sena, which is part of the BJP-led ruling
alliance in the state, have extended support to the farmers' demands.
MNS chief Raj Thackeray and Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray met the farmers yesterday. In November last year, the state government announced a farm loan waiver, terming it the "biggest loan waiver in Maharashtra's history".
Last month, state Governor Vidyasagar Rao told the state legislature that the government has transferred over Rs 12,000
crore into bank accounts of 31 lakh farmers.
Farmers also want the implementation of the M S Swaminathan Commission report, which says farmers should be paid one-and-a-half times the cost of production and the Minimum Support Price should be fixed keeping this in mind.
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