After six days of protesting and marching, the Maharashtra farmers got some relief when the state government accepted their demands on Monday. The state’s Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil said that “all demands” are being accepted. He addressed the farmers camping at Azad Maidan in south Mumbai in the presence of CPI-(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury.
Addressing reporters outside the Vidhan Bhawan, Maharashtra 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 today. 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
Political parties like the Shiv Sena, Aam Aadmi Party, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, and the Communist Party of India had extended their support to the march. Chief Minister Fadnavis was under intense pressure from the opposition to cede to the demands.
The farmers of Maharashtra had gone on a long march from Nashik to demand a loan waiver. The All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) had mobilized over thirty thousand farmers for the long march. The marchers planned to gherao the state legislature on Monday morning. The Long March was supposed to be from Nashik to Mumbai, but the Maharashtra state government requested the farmers to stop at Vikhroli, a suburb of Mumbai. They agreed to halt their march for one night.
The farmers were demanding relief from the constantly distressing situation the state’s farmers are going through. Dr. Ajit Nawale of the AIKS told PTI that farmers were protesting the state government’s land acquisition for projects like high-speed rail and superhighways. Some of the other demands of farmers included a complete farm loan waiver, transfer of forest land to tillers, and implementation of the Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations.
The Swaminathan Commission (first commissioned in 2004) had observed that farmers need assured access and control over some basic resources, such as land, water, credit and insurance and so on. The commission also had suggestions on themes like land reform, irrigation reform, food security, prevention of farmer suicides, among others.