Thousands of farmers and tribals are marching towards Mumbai from Nashik district in North Maharashtra with a list of demands, including an immediate financial relief of Rs 600 per quintal to onion growers, uninterrupted electricity supply for 12 hours and a waiver of agriculture loans. The protesters were captured on foot in videos doing rounds on social media as they entered Thane district on Wednesday.
The protesters started their foot march from Dindori town in Nashik district, around 200km from Mumbai, on Sunday in support of their demands. They have also sought to arrest the sliding prices of other produce like soybean, cotton and tur (a type of pulse), along with immediate relief for farmers affected by unseasonal rain and other climate-related calamities.
Kisan Long March continues in Maharashtra. The most prominent demands are remunerative price particularly for onions, and also for cotton, soyabean, tur, green gram, milk, and hirda. pic.twitter.com/TIkj5Zy2Ws— CPI (M) (@cpimspeak) March 15, 2023
Thousands of #farmers march from Nashik to Mumbai, demanding immediate financial relief of Rs 600/quintal to #onion growers. It is very sad, that Govt did not acknowledge the huge losses suffered by the father, they turned a blind eye, in the end farmers had to come on the roads. pic.twitter.com/LtdEYkbrTz— Ramandeep Singh Mann (@ramanmann1974) March 15, 2023
The march, organised by the Communist Party of India (Marxist), has crossed Kasara town in Thane district located adjoining Mumbai, CPI(M) MLA Vinod Nikole told PTI.
They are likely to reach Mumbai on March 20 where a delegation of Maharashtra ministers is slated to hold talks with representatives of the protesting cultivators, he said.
Nashik is one of the biggest hubs of onion cultivation in the country. However, prices of the kitchen staple have crashed in Maharashtra, resulting in farmers getting very little for their produce.
Earlier on Monday, the Maharashtra government announced an ex-gratia relief of Rs 300 per quintal to onion farmers severely affected by a steep fall in prices of the commodity. Speaking at the state assembly, chief minister Eknath Shinde said that the government will provide relief to onion growers.
The protesters have demanded that state government representatives meet them.