The week-long Nashik-Mumbai foot march of farmers and tribals spearheaded by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) to draw the government’s attention towards various demands of these sections has been called off on Saturday, after having successful talks with Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and his deputy Devendra Fadnavis, a few days ago.
CPI (Marxist) MLA Vinod Nikole announced the decision to call off the march started from Dindori town, located around 195 km away from the State capital, on March 12. The march reached Thane’s Vasind, around 80 km from Mumbai.
The protesting leaders said that the Shinde-Fadnavis government had taken all their demands into consideration in the State Assembly, and ground-level officers had received orders for the execution of government orders. The farmers demanded a support price of ₹600 per quintal to onion growers as the price crashed, a 12-hour uninterrupted power supply to farmers, and waiver of farm loans. The government accepted most of their demands.
“We have decided after government assurance about considering our demands in the State Assembly and ensure its implementation in our talukas and villages,” farmers’ leader J.P. Gavit said.
On Friday evening, Pundalik Jadhav (58) from Nashik’s Dindori, who participated in the long foot march, died while undergoing treatment at a hospital in Shahpur. The exact reason for his death was yet to be ascertained.
Relief for onion farmers
Mr. Shinde on Friday told the Assembly that onion cultivators would be given a financial relief of ₹350 a quintal and appealed to them to call off the protest.
“We received calls from our activists that work (implementation of the government order) has begun. So, we have decided to call off the march,” Mr. Nikole said, adding that the participants had started heading back to their homes, and the remaining people would leave by Saturday evening or Sunday.
The Chief Minister said that a Cabinet sub-committee would be set up to monitor appeals and claims related to the demand for forest land up to four hectares in possession of cultivators, and the panel would prepare a report in a month.