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Farmers’ bandh in Maharashtra sees limited impact

LiveMint logoLiveMint 05-06-2017 Abhiram Ghadyalpatil

Mumbai: Monday’s Maharashtra bandh called by farmers’ groups in Nashik had little impact beyond the districts of Nashik and Ahmednagar. Except for the rural parts of these two districts, it was business as usual for the rest of the state.

However, farmers’ groups and organizations such as Shetkari Sanghatana came together on Monday to form an 21-member steering committee to formulate strategy for the future course of agitation.

The farmers’ demands included a complete farm debt waiver and implementation of all the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission.

According to Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Sabha, the strike continues in Maharashtra while the Kisan Kranti Jan Andolan Samiti called it off in Ahmednagar district on Saturday. Most of the state’s 300-plus Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) wholesale market yards reported normal or close to normal arrivals of farm commodities on Monday. In Nashik and Ahmednagar districts though, all APMC markets including the Lasalgaon onion market, India’s biggest regulated wholesale market for onions, remained shut for the fifth consecutive day since the strike was launched on 1 June.

According to the control room at the Vashi APMC market that caters to Mumbai and Thane cities, 1,532 vehicles carrying farm produce such as onion and potatoes, fruits, vegetables, spices, and food grains arrived from 10pm on Sunday to 4pm on Monday. “This is a normal volume of daily arrivals at the Vashi market,” said a government official at the control room requesting anonymity. He said the arrivals had increased as compared to 4 June which saw only 789 vehicles. “But yesterday was a Sunday and 789 vehicles is normal Sunday volume. The arrivals on Monday increased as compared to Saturday when 997 vehicles arrived. The inflow and outflow of farm produce is perfectly normal at Vashi. We received 1,532 vehicles and 1,484 vehicles went out of the APMC to other wholesale markets across Mumbai and Thane carrying farm produce for consumers,” said the APMC official.

At the Pune APMC though, the strike continued to impact arrivals, according to Pune APMC joint secretary Arvind Jedhe. “Arrival of fruits and vegetables is down by 65%. That is because protesting farmers have stopped vehicles headed to Pune APMC. But arrival of other commodities is almost normal. We received 371 vehicles of fruits and vegetables today as against the normal arrival of 1300 vehicles,” Jedhe told Mint on the phone.

Jaydatta Holkar, chairman of Lasalgaon APMC, said the market had been closed since 31 May. “Farmers have not been bringing produce since 31 May. Today, there was also Maharashtra bandh,” he said.

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