All India Kisan Sabha protest reaches Thane

All India Kisan Sabha protest reaches Thane

"My feet are blistered, but I will walk to Vidhan Bhawan and force the government to accept our demands", said Gave, a farmer from Dindori, Nashik, who is part of the march organized by the CPI-M's Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Sabha.

The Long March entered Mumbai at around 10 am this morning from the Anandnagar Toll Plaza, Mulund via Eastern Express Highway and went through Vikhroli, Mata Ramabai Ambedkar Nagar, Chheda Nagar, Suman Nagar, and will reach the Somaiyya Ground in Sion at around 9 pm.

The journey which started from CBS Chowk, Nashik on March 5 is expected to end at the Vidhan Bhavan here on March 12.

They are asking for complete loan waiver and transfer of Adivasi land to farmers who have been tilling it for years. In June a year ago, the Devendra Fadnavis government had declared a Rs34,022 crore loan waiver and capped it at Rs1.5 lakh per farmer's family.

The ABKS also wants farmers in the state to be given Rs 40,000 per acre as monetary assistance for crop damage because of last month's hailstorms and unseasonal rains, said media reports.

The farmers, who have for the past six days been on a long-march from Nashik in north Maharashtra to Mumbai, made their way from Thane to Somaiya Grounds, north-central Mumbai, where they halted for the night.

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On Sunday, Mumbaikars showed their solidarity with the protesting farmers by providing them food and water.

As one would expect, this could be a disaster for traffic control in the city.

"Consider how hard it is for tribals who are fighting for forest land rights, consider how hard it is for extremely poor women who are around 60 or 70 years to march from Nashik to Mumbai in such a hot climate", he said. However, Ajit Navale, leader of the Communist Party and convenor of the Kisan Sabha, which is spearheading the protest, refused to be drawn into any discussions at this stage and chose to go ahead with the March.

"We want ownership of the 7/8-acre farm land that my family has been cultivating for decades".

Government officials and the police are already in talks with the protesters to avoid chaos on Monday.

The massive march has also drawn support from BJP ally Shiv Sena, Raj Thackeray's Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, its organisers said. "We will take a delegation to the Chief Minister", Mahajan said, addressing the protesters.

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