For 6 days, 35,000 farmers took on an arduous task of covering 185 km journey on foot from Nashik to Mumbai. Starting on 6th March, they reached the Azad Maidan, Mumbai on 12th March. Many of them had blistered foot by such rigorous walking; few had their feet bleeding as well. Unlike farmers of Tamil andu who failed to get the attention of the Prime minister and farmers of Madhya Pradesh who were shooed away with bullets, this time in Maharastra, the long march by the farmers has been quite successful. They have been able to achieve a written assurance by the government agreeing to most of their demands. The images of their blistered feet and tired souls brought a lump in the throat of many. Its high time we rise and take notice of such crisis that would directly affect us in the long run, if ignored.
Chief minister Devendra Phadnavis had announced a loan waiver scheme last year, but it reportedly had technical problems, so couldn’t get successfully implemented. On 12th March, the government agreed to expand the ambit of the scheme as per the demands of the farmers. Phadnavis also assured that all this would be done in the next 6 months time. Now, the question is, if it’s possible to be execute such schemes within 6 months, then what was the government doing for 4 long years? Why did it take thousands of bleeding feet for the government to take notice of the agrarian crisis?
Well, with farmers calling off the march on the 12th of March itself, it is now left to be seen if the government lives up to its promises.
While live reportage of the march featured on Television News channels, Social media too has been buzzing with all the latest updates on the issue. There were cartoonists who spoke in their own satirical way how things have changed now that the farmers have taken up the issue head-on by deciding to confront the politicians directly (considering the suicides they were committing due to lack of sufficient loan waivers in the last couple of years).
Some digs were taken at controversial comments made by certain leaders. (Read Poonam Mahajan's comment on the march)
Few also digs at the current BJP Government as well. (Read Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train by BJP)
Under the scorching heat, walking tirelessly was also a man who carried a solar charger to charge mobile phones during the 6 day long march.
While the main cause of this agrarian crisis is the non availability of cultivable land, the MS Swaminathan Committee recommends that waste lands be distributed to address this issue.
It’s high time that we as part of the urban population realize the significance of the issue faced by our farmers, our annyadaatas. The more we ignore the agrarian crisis as a rural issue, the more we would push ourselves towards lack of economic growth & future despondency as a nation.