Free Press Journal

Farmers stage ‘chakka jam’ in Maha seeking ‘total’ loan waiver


Mumbai: Seeking a “complete” loan waiver and remunerative prices for agri produce, farmers staged ‘chakka jam’ at various places in Maharashtra, disrupting vehicular traffic.

At Palse near Nashik, farmers staged protest, blocking the highway. Protesters also came on the road at Satana and Trimbakeshwar.

At the Kranti Chowk in Aurangabad, protesters blocked traffic, shouting slogans. Police used mild cane charge to disperse the crowd.

At Dharur in Beed district, farmers squatted on the road. Farmers also staged protests at Puntamba and Rahuri in Ahmednagar district.

In Wardha district, farmers burnt an effigy of chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and staged “rasta roko” on the Higanghat road.

Members of the steering committee comprising representatives of various farmer groups had on Saturday said guardian ministers will not be allowed to unfurl the national flag at district headquarters on August 15 if the government fails to announce an unconditional loan-waiver.

“The loan-waiver announced by the BJP-led government in the state is full of flaws and riders. Those should be done away with,” Raghunanthdada Patil, a member of the committee said.

“There should be a total loan-waiver for farmers. Only then will we allow ministers to unfurl the national flag,” Patil said.

On June 24, the state government had announced a Rs 34,000-crore crop loan-waiver for state’s marginal farmers.

Dubbed by chief minister Fadnavis as the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Krushi Sanman Yojana, the scheme is designed to benefit about 89 lakh farmers.

Under the scheme, farmers having outstanding loans between April 1, 2012, and June 30, 2016, would be entitled for the waiver. Loans up to Rs 1.5 lakh would be written off immediately, making some 35 lakh farmers instantly debt-free.

A one-time settlement scheme was offered to nine lakh farmers with debts of over Rs 1.5 lakh. They would be eligible for a waiver of 25 per cent of the outstanding amount or Rs 1.5 lakh, whichever was less, Fadnavis had said.

Meanwhile, farmers’ leader Shankar Anna Dhondge said in Nagpur that plight of farmers was getting worse day by day and that the lackadaisical approach of the government towards the farmers woes was worrisome.

“Similarly, if the demands of the farmers are not met soon then the ‘Kisan manch’ will resort to non-cooperation on loan payment, electricity bill etc across the state,” said Dhondge, convenor of Kisan Manch.