Mumbai: For the second time in 11 days, hundreds of farmers on Saturday took to the streets across Maharashtra to press for various demands including an increase in milk procurement prices.
The agitation call was given by the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party with the stir being led by state party President Chandrakant Patil in Pune and other leaders in different parts of Maharashtra.
Attacking the state government for ignoring the problems of milk farmers, Patil sought to know how many times Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray went to Delhi to resolve the peasants’ issues.
“If he has no knowledge of agriculture, then there are others like Ajit Pawar or Balasaheb Thorat and he (Thackeray) should send them to the Centre to resolve the farmers’ problems, Patil said.
The BJP chief said farmers should get Rs 20 per litre for cow milk. The state government should have given a subsidy of Rs 10, though the previous BJP-led regime had given Rs 5 per litre.
Flaying the agitation, Congress state President and Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat said that the BJP has no right to agitate since it is the BJP government at the Centre which has decided to import milk powder which led to the fall in domestic milk prices.
BJP leaders like Pravin Darekar, Bharati Pawar, Devyani Farand, Suresh Thus, Rahul Dhikale, Haribhau Bagade, Atul Save, Prashant Bamb, Ram Shinde, Ashish Shelar, Mangal Prabhat Lodha and others led the agitation in different parts of the state. Some were detained briefly by the local police.
Earlier, on July 21, various farmers organisations like the All India Kisan Sabha, Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana and others had launched an agitation with the AIKS Coordination Committee — a pan-India platform with more than 250-plus organisations — supporting the farmers.
AIKS leaders and SSS President Raju Shetti have warned of a nationwide stir if the farmers’ demands are not conceded by August 9.