Once again, Mumbai has become the hotbed for protesting farmers. This time, about 20,000 tribal farmers held their agitation in Azad Maidan to bring their grievances to the fore. The farmers are demanding compensation for drought and transfer of forest rights to tribals. They are also demanding implementation of the Swaminathan Committee report, which states that farmers must have assured assess and control over resources – land and water.
According to The Wire the General Secretary of the Lok Sangharsh Morcha, Pratibha Shinde said “We have been consistently asking the state government to fulfill our long-standing demands but the response has been lukewarm. We are forced to launch this agitation.”
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This is the third mass protest by the farmers in Maharashtra this year. The first was in March for a loan waiver and another in July by the dairy farmers. This time, it is for the drought and tribal rights.
On October 31, the Maharashtra Government had declared a drought in the state’s 151 talukas of which 112 were hit severely. The drought was declared after ground verification and on the basis of indicators like rainfall deficit, reservoir shortage and groundwater index. The announcement delay had a cascading effect on the state benefits that would take too long to reach the beneficiary. The farmers have been crying foul. They have been drastically affected by the state government’s awry policies.
The farmers are once again waiting for their grievances to be addressed.