Maharashtra farmers march to Mumbai over onion prices, call off protest

The parade was organized by the Communist Party of Malaysia.


The march from Nashik to Nashik came a day after Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde told the state assembly that he had discussed their demands with a delegation of farmers. Thousands of farmers in Mumbai decided to stop their agitation. CPI leader and former MLA Jiva Pandu Gavit, who led the 200km “Long March”, announced the decision today.

Mr Gavitt said the state government had taken immediate steps to deliver on its pledge, with local tax collectors visiting Nashik and several other places.

“We were concerned that the government would only give assurances and not take action. However, now that they have started to take appropriate action, we have decided to withdraw our agitation. All farmers have gone home,” he said.

Mr Shinde said he discussed 14 issues with the farmer delegation, including forest rights, forest land encroachment, transfer of land and pastures belonging to temple trusts to cultivators for cultivation.

Mr Shinde called on farmers to withdraw from the long march and said the decision taken would be implemented immediately.

He said onion growers will get financial relief of Rs 350 per quintal due to low commodity prices and crop losses due to erratic rains.

Farmers demanded Rs 600 relief per quintal onion farmers, 12-hour uninterrupted power supply to farmers and waiver of agricultural loans. Onion growers in Maharashtra have been hit hard by the slump in prices. Chief Minister Sindh said high production had contributed to this.

Farmers also want measures to stem the slide in soybean, cotton and turf prices and provide immediate relief to farmers affected by recent freak rainfall and other natural disasters.

Marchers also demanded the implementation of the old pension scheme for state employees who joined the service after 2005.

The march was organized by CPM and apart from farmers, many workers from the non-organized sector like ASHA workers and members of tribal communities also participated in the march.

The march, similar to the “Kisan March” from Nashik to Mumbai in 2018, was also organized by leftist parties. They asked for loan forgiveness and the transfer of forest land to tribal farmers who had cultivated it for many years, and Chief Minister Devon Drafad Navis accepted.

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