Maha govt bows before farmers, but wary leaders don't call off 'long march'

Mumbai, Mar 17 (IANS): In what is viewed as a huge victory for the farmers, the Maharashtra government on Thursday evening conceded almost all demands of the agitating peasants, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde said.

However, wary of past experiences, the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) has decided against calling off the agitation, but has halted the ongoing Nashik-Mumbai "long march" en route at Vasind in Thane.

"We had very fruitful negotiations on all issues and most have been resolved, I shall make a statement in the legislature tomorrow morning," a beaming Shinde said, after emerging from a marathon meeting with over a dozen AIKS leaders.

Confirming the developments from the AIKS side, CPI-M MLA Vinod Nikole said that most pertaining to the jurisdiction of the state have been sorted out while those in the Centre's ambit have yet to be resolved.

"Accordingly, we have decided to halt the 'long march' at Vasind. The agitation is not called off till the government issues the relevant orders right up to the district level to implement our demands within the next two days," Nikole told media persons.

He pointed out how in the past two "long march' agitations in 2018 and 2019, the then governments had made all assurances to the peasants and later nothing came out of it.

"This time, we want the government to issue the GR, orders to the Divisional Commissioners, District Collectors and others down the rank to implement the decisions agreed in today's meeting. The 'long march' will disperse only after we see the execution at the local levels," Nikole declared.

He added that the marchers and their families have been calling up to ascertain the implementation aspect after the demands are accepted and the farmers will not budge from their Vasind camp till then.

Nikole cautioned that if the orders are not issued in two days to all the officers concerned, then the march will resume to reach the Maharashtra Legislature as scheduled on Monday, which could create complications here.

Thursday's meeting - the second in two days - comprised Shinde, Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis, Ministers and officials of the concerned departments, while the farmers side included AIKS President Ashok Dhawale, state General Secretary Dr. Ajit Nawale, Jiva Pandu Gavit, Nikole and others.

Among the major points in the 17-point charter of demands are: compensation or Rs 600/quintal to onion growers who have suffered owing to rock-bottom prices and MSP of Rs 2,000/quintal from the next season, besides fair remuneration for soybean, cotton, tur, milk, etc.


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Title: Maha govt bows before farmers, but wary leaders don't call off 'long march'

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