Cotton farmers` stir intensifies in Maharashtra

Shiv Sena activists joined in the stir in the district headquarters of Amravati for the third day.

Last Updated: Nov 16, 2011, 22:06 PM IST

Nagpur: The cotton farmers protesting against the current minimum support price for raw cotton in Vidarbha region Wednesday intensified their protest by blocking the National Highway 6.

They have been demanding Rs 6,000 per quintal as minimum support price for raw cotton as against the current rate of Rs 3,300 per quintal.

Shiv Sena activists joined in the stir in the district headquarters of Amravati for the third day. They ransacked the state cotton cooperative marketing federation office and set the furniture afire.

Over 100 farmers and Shiv Sena activists were arrested, including the party`s district chief Balasaheb Bhagwat.

"Police arrested 116 farmers and Sena activists in the connection," said Kishor Tiwari, an activist and President of Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS), an NGO working for farmers and farm widows in Vidarbha.

On the other hand, independent legislator Ravi Rana`s indefinite hunger strike entered the third day Wednesday. Rana was detained by the police Monday and is now in central jail at Amravati.

Activist from Rana`s Yuva Swabhimani Sanghatana along with VJAS and several other organisations blocked roads and damaged public property at many places in Vidarbha in protest against the jail authorities` "undemocratic" attitude.

The vehicular traffic on Mumbai-Kolkata National Highway 6 was paralysed at Tiwasa in Amravati when the farmers resorted to a `rasta rok` agitation in support of fair price of raw cotton.

The agitators even took out a huge farmers` rally on the highway on the issue which was addressed by Tiwari and other farmers` leaders. The farmers vowed not to sell raw cotton until the government hikes the guarantee price.

IANS