Farmers to protest outside Maharashtra Assembly on Monday

Agitating Maharashtra farmers reach Azad Maidan after overnight march, to meet CM Devendra Fadnavis today

Maharashtra farmers protest against agrarian distress

The Mumbai Police are likely to stop the march near Azad Maidan opposite the Chhatrapati Shivajii Maharaj Terminus.

The last one year has been tough on Ankush Raotovar, a 55-year-old farmer from Marathwada's Parbhani district. "The farmers are feeling betrayed by the Maharashtra Government and the BJP-led NDA at the Centre", Maharashtra ABKS president Dr Ashok Dhavale said.

"I applied online for a farm loan waiver and got a message that my loan of Rs 1.5 lakh has been waived".

"Farmers in the state are reeling under the ripples of agrarian distress and they are under huge financial burden".

A year ago in June, similar protests gave a rise to intense situation over most parts of the state, forcing the CM Devendra Fadnavis-led government to annouce a conditional Rs 34,000 crore loan waiver, which was not implemented properly, according to farmers.

Farmers leader Ajit Nawale said that among the major demands are implementation of the farm loans waiver announced in June 2017, (after farmers in the state went on a "strike"), then make the farmers completely debt-free, besides other demands.

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Farmers who walked barefoot from Nashik to Mumbai, cutting a distance of 200 km, have reached Mumbai's Azad Maidan to voice out their various demands.

The farmers chose to march overnight to reach Mumbai's Azad Maidan early today to avoid any inconvenience to the children sitting for their exam today.

"Thousands of protesters from Kunbi Sena and Shetkari Kamgar Party will join us on Monday", Gujar said.

These farmers want a complete waiver of loans and their electricity dues. "We feel that pressure from them may make the government agree to our demands", says Sitaram Pawar, secretary, Kisan Mahasabha.

"Even when the pink bollworm destroyed my cotton crop, government officials came and conducted a panchnama, but ultimately the revenue circle that my village belongs to was excluded from the villages where farmers were given compensation".

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had appealed to farmers not to hold up traffic and cause problems for Class 10 students. This time, the ABKS has made a decision to take on the government on its own. Farmers are unhappy with the attitude of the state government towards the condition of their community in the state. He may welcome the protesters when they enter the city on Sunday morning. "We are ready to discuss with the government but will not withdraw the protest".

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