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Fuel price hike: SSS to stage protests across Maharashtra

Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana's MP Raju Shetti  

Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS) chief Raju Shetti on Wednesday said his outfit would be launching a State-wide agitation against rising fuel prices and the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government’s failure to waive the power bills of farmers.

“At the current crude oil rates, per litre petrol should not be costing more than ₹30. Yet, the prices have soared to an unprecedented ₹98 per litre. The question on the lips of every citizen is who is pocketing the remaining ₹68 per litre,” said Mr. Shetti.

He said it was the Modi government’s ‘misperception’ that the farmers’ agitation was the handiwork of farmers from Punjab, Haryana and other northern States. “This agitation is pan-Indian in the truest sense. It is only because of a number of travel restrictions on farmers from the south that the protests outside Delhi have mainly been carried out by farmers from Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan,” Mr. Shetti said.

He said the Madhya Pradesh and the Uttar Pradesh police have refused permission for train travel to farmers wishing to join the agitation. “Maharashtra’s farmers have more than made up for their lack of physical presence by staging protests,” he said.

Mr. Shetti said Maharashtra’s farmers had twice participated in a Bharat Bandh, while his party workers protested outside the offices of Ambani and Adani in Mumbai as the corporates were allegedly the prime beneficiaries of the Centre’s new farm laws.

“We also staged a massive tractor march from Sangli to Kolhapur. On Tuesday, young activists of the Rashtra Seva Dal submitted documents, which had the signatures of 5.5 lakh farmers and citizens, mostly from urban pockets, to Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari. This is an unequivocal expression of the support of Maharashtra’s farmers for their comrades in Delhi,” he said, adding that in the “decisive battle” between the Centre and the farmers, Maharashtra will not hold back.

Mr. Shetti, once a BJP-led National Democratic Alliance constituent who severed ties to fight the 2019 polls with the Nationalist Congress Party, ticked-off the MVA government for not doing enough to ameliorate the plight of farmers.

“The MVA government has not yet accepted our demands of waiving electricity bills which were charged to farmers during the lockdown. Furthermore, Why are fees being demanded of children of farmers despite schools and colleges being shut since March 23 last year?” he said, warning that the MVA leaders would have to answer for ignoring the farmers.

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Printable version | Apr 20, 2021 4:29:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/fuel-price-hike-sss-to-stage-protests-across-maharashtra/article33983533.ece

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