Farmers’ stir: Steering committee decides to intensify strike

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Nashik : If the state government does not take a decision regarding loan waiver to farmers within two days, farmers will stage a sit-in agitation opposite every district collectorate and tehsil office in the state on June 12. If the Chief Minister still does not take note, rail roko and rasta roko agitations will be staged on June 13, the new steering committee, which was formed to decide the further course of the strike, announced yesterday. It also decided not to stop transport of agriculture produce and milk to prevent loss of agriculture produce.
As the seven-day strike called by farmers ended yesterday, office bearers of the steering committee conducted a meeting of farmers in Nashik to decide the next course of action. Earlier, the office bearers held discussions at Golf Club about the decisions to be taken in the meeting.
Office bearers of the committee Ajit Navale, Madhavrao More, MP Raju Shetty, MLA Bachchu Kadu, farmer and peasants’ party MLA Jayant Patil, MLA J P Gavit, Congress’ Bhai Jagtap, Ashok Bhavar, Kishore Dhamale, CPI-M’s Dr. D L Karad, Loksangharsh Morcha’s Pratibha Shinde, Baliraja Sanghatana’s Sanjay Ghatnekar, Kisan Sabha’s Namdev Gavade, former judge B G Kolse Patil, farmer from Puntambe Balasaheb Chavan, Kunabi Sena’s Vishwanath Patil, Sushil Narode, Comrade Ashok Dhavale and office bearers of various worker unions, social and charity organisation who gave support to the strike were present for the meeting.
Shetty, whose SSS is an ally of the BJP-led NDA government in the state and who led a “atmaklesh yatra” (repentance march) of farmers last month, has stressed the need to take farmers’ struggle to the national level.
He sought support of all opposition parties for the implementation of the Swaminathan Committee report.
Shetty alleged that only traders and middlemen profited from the “flawed” Tur purchase policy of the state government.
Shetty, who represents the Hatkanangle Lok Sabha seat in Kolhapur district, said he would be visiting Madhya Pradesh, where the ongoing agitation by farmers has taken a violent turn, with the death of five farmers in alleged police firing.
Farmers in the state launched an unprecedented stir on June 1 which has affected the supply of milk and vegetables in major urban centres including Mumbai. While refraining from selling their agricultural produce in many parts of the state, the cultivators took to the streets to disrupt the movement of vehicles carrying farm produce to cities such as Mumbai, Pune, Nashik.
At the meeting, Navle said farmers will start holding “thiyya andolan” (sit-in protest) outside tehsil offices and district collectorates across the state from June 10.
“If our demands are not met by June 11, farmers will resort to ‘thiyya andolan’ June 12 onwards. Farmers will start holding protests like rasta roko, rail roko across the state from June 13 onwards,” he warned.
Farmers from Nashik district, which has emerged as the new epicentre of protests after Puntamba in Ahmednagar district, are demanding scrapping of the proposed 701-km Mumbai-Nagpur “Samruddhi” expressway project.
Meanwhile, agricultural produce marketing committees (APMCs) in Nashik district have started receiving supply of vegetables and fruits from farmers, after days of shortage. Supply of milk has also become normal now.
Addressing the meeting, Bachchu Kadu said farmers will not let Ministers in state address meetings in the state during the second stage of agitation if their demands are not met.
“We will take our struggle to the national level,” he said, adding that 70 leaders of various farmers’ organisations participated in yesterday’s meeting of the steering committee.

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