A group of as many as 30,000 protesting farmers met representatives of the Maharashtra government in Mumbai on Monday with a list of their demands. The meeting to address the agrarian distress followed a march by All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) – peasants front of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) – from Nashik to Mumbai.
Following the meeting, the Maharashtra government said that it was a positive one where all demands of the farmers were discussed. Some of the demands of the farmers were accepted and the government also promised a written draft of the acceptance.
Speaking to mediapersons after the meeting, Maharashtra minister Girish Mahajan said, “We have had a positive meeting with farmers in which all their demands were discussed. They had around 12-13 demands out of which we've accepted some and will be giving them a written draft of it.” He added that the farmers were satisfied with the decision of the government.
Complete loan waiver and profit of 1.5 times input cost for all major agriculture commodities are the major demands of the AIKS. The farmers have also demanded an immediate implementation of MS Swaminathan committee's recommendations, which ensures fair remuneration.
The agitating farmers are also demanding compensation of Rs 40,000 per acre for destruction of crops due to hailstorm and pink-worm, allocation of forest land under cultivation to farmers and implementation of Forest Rights Act.
The government has said that a six-member panel would be set up to look into all the demands and will submit its report in a given timeframe.
Earlier on Monday, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had said that the government is “positive in fulfilling their demands”. He told the Maharashtra Assembly that minister Girish Mahajan had been in touch with the farmers since the first day of the protest.
The opposition has launched a scathing attack on the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government over the issue. Congress president Rahul Gandhi tweeted, “The mammoth farmers march is a stunning example of people’s power. The Congress party stands with the farmers and tribals marching to protest against the central and state government's apathy.”