Thousands of farmers march to Mumbai to demand help

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Chandrakant Patil, minister for revenue, later read out the charter of demands, which had been accepted by the government, to the agitating farmers camping at Azad Maidan.

According to a Kisan Sabha leader, the main demands pertained to complete implementation of the loan waiver scheme announced past year, implementation of the Forest Rights Act, 2006, and compensation for victims of damage to cotton crops following bollworm infestation and the unseasonal rains and hailstorm.

"Not mercy but we demand our rights" more than 30,000 distressed farmers majority from tribal belts put up a show of strength in South Mumbai's Azad Maidan.

Demands like farmers and farm labourers being given a pension if they are above 60 years, ration cards and supply of kerosene are also there which are quite easy to fulfill but the blatant corruption and apathy towards the farmers agenda has deterred the government from providing for them.

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"We have agreed to most of the demands raised by the farmers and tribals".

The government has been receptive to their demands and the state CM admitted that "About 90 to 95 per cent are poor tribals who are fighting to protect their forest land and rights".

The farmers' protest in Maharashtra has reached Mumbai with the demand of "unconditional" loan waiver for the crop loss due to unseasonal rain.

Fadnavis also said the government would take positive decision within six months on giving grants under the Sanjay Gandhi Niradhar Yojana and Shravanbal Yojana, for which committees would be set up within 15 days. He informed the house that the Water Resources Minister Girish Mahajan had met them before they had started their march from Nashik but the latter was determined to proceed.

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Kisan Sabha leaders including Ajit Nawale expressed satisfaction over the outcome. Participants in the march had reached Azad Maidan early on Monday morning, having walked from Chunabhatti's Somaiya Maidan in the wee hours to avoid disrupting traffic and affecting students headed for their SSC exams.

Mumbai police had beefed up security ahead of the march, expecting more farmers from the outskirts of the city to join the 35,000-strong rally.

Many Bollywood actors showed their support to the farmers.

Several political parties like the Congress, the NCP, the Shiv Sena and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena had extended their support to the protesting farmers. "I appeal to PM Modi and the CM to not stand on ego and to accept their just demands".

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