Yechury to address farmers’ rally in Nashik on Tuesday

Mumbai: Over one lakh farmers from 27 districts in Maharashtra are expected to turn up for a rally in Nashik on Tuesday to be addressed by CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury, an official said on Monday.

Yechury will raise burning issues concerning farmers like waiver of farm loans, power bills, drought, fodder, employment, compensation for crop damage and minimum support prices for crops as recommended by the Swaminathan Commission.

The rally is being organised by Maharashtra Rajya Kisan Sabha (MRKS), an affiliate of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), said AIKS joint secretary Ashok Dhawale.

“The policies of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre and Devendra Fadnavis in Maharashtra are against farmers. In his pre-election speeches, Prime Minister Modi had assured implementation of the Swaminathan Commission’s report.

“After coming to power, it (government) filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court that giving this price to farmers was not feasible,” Dhawale said.

Besides, there is no talk of giving farm loan waiver, which is estimated at around Rs.8 lakh crore across India and Rs.39,000 crore in Maharashtra.

“In the last two union budgets, the Modi regime showered corporates with tax concessions of Rs.12 lakh crore.

“Vijay Mallya, who was elected to the Rajya Sabha from Karnataka with BJP support, is allowed to flee the country though he has fleeced banks of over Rs.9,000 crore,” Dhawale said.

Citing statistics, he said that in 2015, as many as 3,228 debt-hit farmers committed suicide in Maharashtra, with the maximum in Vidarbha and Marathwada regions.

Since 1995, a record 65,000 farmers have ended their lives in the state, making it a “graveyard for farmers”, he said.

Besides Yechury, AIKS general secretary Hannan Mollah and journalist P. Sainath shall also address the rally.

The rally will mark the culmination of a six-month agitation by MRKS which included public meetings, awareness campaigns, loan-waiver conventions, road blocks, processions and ‘jail bharo’ with the participation of thousands of farmers across Maharashtra.