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Maharashtra Govt Promises Increased Onion Farmer Subsidy, But Farmer's ‘Long March’ Continues

Maharashtra government holds 'fruitful' discussions with farmers, plans to enhance the per quintal subsidy promised to onion farmers. Farmers march to take place until the implementation of promises.

Eashani Chettri
Maharashtra farmers have been holding a protest for speedy implementation of their demands
Maharashtra farmers have been holding a protest for speedy implementation of their demands

The Maharashtra government plans to enhance the per quintal subsidy promised to onion farmers and to form a special committee to ensure that the Forest Rights Act is effectively implemented in the state. These choices were made during the Thursday meeting between farmers' long march representatives and Chief Minister Eknath Shinde.

As confirmed by the farmer’s representative, the march will continue to stay where it was in Vasind in the Thane district. While the talks with the Chief Minister were positive, the march is expected to continue until the promises made by the administration started with the actual implementation of the work. 

There has been announced a subsidy of Rs. 300 per quintal by Shinde and the government has promised to increase it. Ajit Navale, the president of the Maharashtra Kisan Sabha, and former CPI(M) MLA Jiva Pandu Gavit will serve on the committee for the implementation of the Forest Rights Act.

Gavit and the state-level representatives of the Kisan Sabha are leading the long march. As part of the 2018 Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Shetkari Sanman Yojana, a loan waiver program announced by the state government led by then-chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, the government has also agreed to include 88,000 farmers who were unable to apply. This will cost the state exchequer Rs 150 crore. These farmers were eligible for the 2018 program but were unable to participate, so they did not get any benefits.

The loan waiver benefits of 2018 will also be extended to the tribal farmers. The Chief Minister affirmed that the discussions had been positive and said that the announcements for the same will be made at the State Legislature. We assured them that we support the demands put forth by farmers. On Friday, we will make the announcement in the Legislative Assembly, he stated.

Ajit Navale, the head of the Maharashtra Kisan Sabha, claimed the dialogue was fruitful and the government had acceded to their demands. Yet, he continued, "Directing the administration to carry out those decisions and actually accepting demands in a meeting are two different things.”

Navale further stated that the farmers' long march will come to an end at the Idgah site in Vasind once the Assembly has received the meeting's minutes. We won't leave until the district administration has received instructions to begin carrying out the decisions made, he said.

There is to be a subsidy of Rs. 600 per quintal for onions and also provide forest land to those who cultivate it, as per the charter of 17 demands made to the government.

Additionally, it has called for a 12-hour electricity supply for agriculture, the cancellation of farm loans, and NDRF compensation for farmland damaged by natural disasters. The Old Pension Plan for striking government workers and an increase in the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana sanctioned amount are other requests made by the farmers.

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