Maharashtra farmers stage protest at Azad Maidan.

Around 35,000 farmers under the banner of the farmers’ wing of Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM), All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), marched into the heart of Mumbai on Sunday night – quietly. They began their ‘Long March’ from Thane and covered a distance of 180 kilometres in about five days to the Maharashtra capital.A huge gathering of farmers, who walked from Nashik to Mumbai in a week’s time, on Monday staged a morcha at the historic Azad Maidan here to press for various demands.

On March 6, the agitating farmers started their foot march from Nashik to Mumbai. Holding red flags and shouting slogans, the peaceful demonstration by farmers has woken up the ruling BJP from its slumber. The CM has promised to talk to the farmer leaders and address their issues.Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navanirman Sena, Congress, NCP, and Shiv Sena, a part of the alliance ruling Maharashtra, have come out in support of the farmers.As sympathies for the farmers continue to grow, their demands gained prominence in the eyes of the people. To put it simply, the farmers want the government to implement the Swaminathan Commission report.

Consecutive droughts, variable rainfall, increasing debt, pink bollworm pest attacks and recurring hailstorms have taken a huge toll on the farmers of Marathwada and Vidarbha. Crops of wheat, gram, sorghum, onion, grapes, oranges, and cotton were affected in 19 districts of the state during hailstorms.

The Maharashtra government had started disbursing the loan waiver amounts to farmers’ accounts in October 2017, four months after it had announced the scheme. The move was expected to benefit nearly 89 lakh farmers but was plagued by technical difficulties.According to media reports, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis is set to meet the All India Kisan Sabha delegation at 2 pm. Earlier the farmers’ delegation was supposed to meet Fadnavis around noon on Monday morning. But due to the ongoing Assembly session, the meeting has been deferred

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