Farmers’ stir: Under-pressure M’shtra govt accepts demands

Under pressure from the opposition and ally Shiv Sena, the BJP-led Maharashtra government accepted the demands of agitating farmers, including their right to till forest land, as thousands of agriculturists converged in Mumbai in a sea of red.

In a major victory for the farmers who trekked 180 km from Nashik to Mumbai over six days under the blazing sun, some even barefooted, the state’s Revenue Minister Chandrakant patil said their “all demands” are being accepted.

Talking to reporters outside Vidhan Bhawan, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said: “We have agreed to set up a committee to hand over forest land used for farming, to tribals and farmers.”

“A meeting was held with representatives of farmers and adivasis at Vidhan Bhawan. We have agreed to set up a committee to allot agricultural land to tribals provided they submit a proof of pre-2005 land cultivation. We have accepted almost all their demands,” Fadnavis said.

Earlier in the day, Fadnavis, who was under intense pressure to concede the demands of farmers, had said his government was “sensitive and positive” towards their issues.

“Around 90 to 95 per cent of the participants are poor tribals. They are fighting for forest land rights. They are landless and can’t do farming. The government is sensitive and positive towards their demands,” he told the state Assembly during a discussion on the ‘Long March’ of agriculturists.

Several parts of Maharashtra frequently face drought, and suicides due to rural indebtedness is common.


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