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Farmers call shots amid protest?

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Viewing farmers' distress on terms like loan waiver is simplistic, although meeting this demand may act as an interim palliative. Structural problems are aggravating with a steady decline in the size of land parcels with successive inheritance. Most farmers have reduced to the status of watchmen of their small parcels of land and youngsters are refusing to continue farming. Infrastructure at public and individual level is deficient. Incomes in villages, farm as well as non-farm, are not increasing relative to other incomes in the country and relative poverty is worsening despite increase in incomes all across. Non-farm activity has to be structurally focused on and the necessary physical and human infrastructure has to be arranged with capital and human skills. Farming can be profitable if farmers stand on their own feet, without too much government help. In fact, farmers have to help themselves by having their own organisations, which should provide technical advice, farming tips, market information and marketing support, whenever needed. This would prove useful if the crowd is big and the demands can be met, with the six-month road map being implemented immediately.

— C. Krishnan Ramani, Bhandup

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No city across the globe compares to Mumbai when it comes to hospitality of the people and oneness, despite politicians trying to divide people at times for their vested interest. Busy doctors left their tight schedule aside as traveled like caravans to treat agitating farmers right till their protest was called off in the evening. Good Samaritans arranged for food and snacks, while children distributed water to the thirsty men who toil all day long to produce food commodities for us. Tearful pictures indeed, but Mumbai never tires to look after the needy when the situation arises. The city has seen serial blasts and terrorism in the past, but has always defeated the evils through its unity and fighting spirit. Communal fabric is what binds the citizens, who irrespective of caste and religion, are always there to help each other. They even celebrate each others festivals which is what makes Mumbai special.Mumbai Meri Jaan! ...every citizen who resides here is proud to be a Mumbaikar!

— S.N. Kabra, Goregaon

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Apropos protest by Maharashtra farmers, it is shocking to read about the plight of Indian farmers in leading dailies. The simmering agrarian crisis has reached a boiling point and weakened the livelihood of farmers. One remembers verse 1032 of The Thirukkural (Tamil Literature) which says, “Farmers are the linch-pin of the world, for they support all those who take to other work, not having the strength to plow”.

Though converting farm land for industrialisation looks sunny, let us remember we cannot eat money. Even currency notes are made using some of the cotton produced by the farmer. An urgent policy intervention by the government, coupled with a good strategy is needed, which will make agriculture attractive for the farmers and also add respectability to the their profession, possibly paving the way for a second green revolution.

— T.S. Karthik, Chennai

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The Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis led the Maharashtra government to surrender before the farmers demands and offered a six-month road map to address the agrarian distress, bowing to the demands of aggrieved the farmers. Around 30,000 farmers and tribal people, led by the All India Kisan Sabha, had marched nearly 200 km to the state capital Mumbai. They marched from their respective villages to Azad Maidan in South Mumbai and received a warm reception from their urban peers. But their plan to 'gherao' (surround) the Assembly was dropped after the government accepted their demands. Fadnavis had found his party (BJP) isolated, with opposition parties as well as ally Shiv Sena rallying behind the farmers. The long march from Nashik to Mumbai has brought up important demands of the farmers, including an unconditional loan waiver program that would also include categories of farmers earlier excluded, implementation of the Swaminathan Commission Report which includes a higher compensation for land acquisition, a Rs. 50,000 compensation for farmers affected by natural calamities.
Giving land to those who have received title area lesser than their eligibility and a sensitive approach to land acquisition for the bullet train and property corridor projects were also agreed upon. With this, it is the victory of the farmers and defeat of the Fadnavis government, as this shameless BJP government has no right to remain in power and must step down.

— Bhagwan Thadani, Mumbai

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