Hundreds of farmers blocked the convoy of Maharashtra’s Agriculture Minister Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil on the Mumbai-Agra national highway today demanding compensation following heavy damage to their crops caused by the recent untimely rains.

The blockade at Pimpalgaon Baswant near Nashik lasted only for about 15 minutes as the Minister stepped out of his car to meet the farmers’ representatives and promised to look into their demands.

The farmers led by local MLA Anil Kadam told the Minister who was on tour to see for himself the damage caused to the farm fields, that they lost crops like onion, grape, cotton, paddy due to untimely rains that lashed Nashik district early this month.

Besides demanding financial assistance of Rs 50,000 per hectare, farmers have also asked for waiver of loans and facility of crop-nsurance.

The Mnister told the agitating farmers that the government was aware of the situation and would offer them help.

The blockade was lifted subsequently and vehicular traffic resumed on the highway, police said, adding that no arrests were made.