Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, worried over the fallout of a third Nashik-Mumbai "long march" by farmers, announced a subsidy of ₹300/quintal to the affected agriculturists.
However, the farmers rejected CM’s offer.
"The red onion of the Kharif season has arrived in the market on a large scale, there is an increase in onion production in other states in the country. Owing to this the supply has exceeded the demand, leading to a fall in the prices," Shinde told the Assembly.
Announcing the ₹300/quintal subsidy, the CM said that it would give a big relief to the growers hit by the unprecedented fall in the prices of the vegetable.
However, the All India Kisan Samiti (AIKS) leaders in Nashik rejected the CM's offer and went ahead with their "long march" this afternoon.
NCP, Shiv Sena (UBT) jump in to back farmers
The opposition Congress, Nationalist Congress Party and Shiv Sena-UBT staged a walkout and protested outside the legislature demanding that the compensation should be between ₹500-700/quintal.
Since the past few weeks, the onion farmers in the state are on a warpath as they are getting absurd prices of ₹2/quintal in the wholesale markets, far below their production costs.
Farmers demand ₹600/quintal as compensation
Demanding at least ₹600/quintal compensation, farmers, in many places, have thrown the onions on the highways where they got crushed by speeding vehicles, let loose cattle in many onion farms, and made a bonfire of the vegetable.
MVA leaders like Nana Patole, Chhagan Bhujbal, Kishore Tiwari, and others strongly batted for the farmers' demand for ₹600/quintal and sought ₹2,000/quintal MSP from the next season to protect the interests of the agriculturists.
AIKS President Dr. Ashok Dhawale said that the farmers' march will go to Mumbai till a satisfactory agreement is reached, while AIKS state General Secretary reiterated that the ex-gratia should be at least ₹600/quintal.
Shinde rules out MSP for onion
However, Shinde has ruled out MSP for onion saying it's a perishable crop, but an important price-sensitive cash crop in the state, and is subject to the total production in the country, the domestic and international demands, etc.
He said that a committee was appointed which recommended a subsidy of ₹200-₹300 per quintal, but as the government stands with the farmers it has decided to give ₹300/quintal.
The developments came a day after Nashik Guardian Minister Dada Bhuse met and appealed to the farmers to call off their agitation as the government was trying to resolve the issue.
(With inputs from IANS)
(To receive our E-paper on WhatsApp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)