Farmers led by AIKS have launched a massive pad yatra of 173 kms from Nasik to Mumbai to gherao the state assembly today demanding waiver of all agricultural loans and electricity bills and declaration of MSP of 50% higher than the comprehensive cost of production as per the recommendations of Swaminathan Commission. They have also raised other demands of implementation of Forest Rights, PDS, pension amongst others. More than 40,000 farmers are marching in protest.
The NDA govt at the centre and the Fadnavis govt. in Maharashtra had promised to fulfill the above demands, doubling of farmers’ income along with Ache Din, Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas. But the Union Budget has made no allocations to fulfill these. They have only announced that they are already giving a MSP of 1.5 times the cost, which is a total lie.
Already in June 2017 Maharashtra peasants blocked highways and stopped supply of milk, vegetables and fruits to the cities as a protest against losses. At that time the BJP govt. made promises to solve the problem, but it has done little. Lofty announcements notwithstanding, it has allotted meager Rs 4800 cr for loan waiver and that too with several impractical preconditions.
More than 18000 peasants are committing suicides in the country every year due to high cost of inputs and low prices of crops. Peasant debts have grown 55% during first three years of Modi rule. In this budget the NDA govt. has further raised the loans for farmers to Rs 11 lac crores. While the govt. foregoes Rs 6 lac crores of taxes from the corporate and more than Rs 11 lac crores of corporate NPAs have piled up unrecovered, it has been forcing farmers to repay and renew their loans every 6 months.
AIKMS has appealed to all farmers bodies to support the ongoing struggle of Maharashtra farmers and to build similar movements in all states to bring pressure on all state govts, NDA or others, to solve these problems of peasants.
(V Venkatramaiah) (Dr. Ashish Mital)
President General Secretary
March 11, 2018