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AGRICULTURE

Vegetables, fruit & milk supplies may suffer as farmers’ strike starts
Saturday, 02 June, 2018, 16 : 00 PM [IST]
Ashwani Maindola and Shraddha Joshi
Vegetable, fruit and milk supplies in the country are likely to be severely affected as the nationwide strike by farmers gathers momentum. Over 170 regional associations of farmers have joined the strike following the recent call by Bhartiya Kisan Mahasangh (BKM).

Initially starting with few states, the strike has now spread almost pan-india with all the states’ virtually now affected due to farmers’ agitation under the umbrella of BKM.

The farmers’ strike was for three major demands. The first was on MSP, second for waiving off the loan and third for a fixed income formula for the farmers.

Sunil Gaur, spokesperson, Bhartiya Kisan Mahasangh, said, “The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government promised that they would give one-and-a-half times the input as MSP to farmers, but nothing has been done thus far. Only an announcement was made, but no concrete road map has been laid down for this.”

“Secondly, the farmer in the state is reeling under the loan he has taken to carry out his activities. We want a complete waiver. Thirdly, there must be a plan for ensuring fixed incomes for the farmers. The government at the Centre and in the states must ensure that farmers get better remunerative prices for their produce,” he added.

On its first day, the strike had little impact, but Gaur said that in the coming days, the impact would be far more visible. He added that there was no call from the government for talks yet.

An official from the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) market, Vashi, said, “Until now, not much shortage has been seen in the fruit and vegetable supplies at the mandi.

“We procure it from various farmers from different regions of Maharashtra, including Pune, Solapur and Amravati. And there is stock for some times, but if the strike continues for a longer period and gathers momentum, the chances of low supply from Sunday onwards will be high,” he added.

Usually 600-650 trucks of fruits and vegetables are unloaded daily at Vashi. The official added that on Saturday morning, 500 trucks were unloaded. A similar situation was reported in many other parts of the country.

Reports stated that in Maharashtra, blockades were seen on the Pune-Bengaluru and Pune-Nashik highways. Areas that witnessed blockage of supplies included Khed-Shivapur in Pune district, as well as parts of Satara, Solapur, Ahmednagar, Nashik and Aurangabad districts.

In Madhya Pradesh, vegetable markets operated normally. However, there were reports of short supply in some markets and a slight spike in prices. Milk supply was normal throughout the state.

Meanwhile, S K Pattanayak, secretary, ministry of agriculture, cooperation and farmers’ welfare, Government of India, said on sidelines of a programme in New Delhi that the government hadn’t received any demand from any farmer organisation. “If we do, we will certainly respond to them,” he added.
 
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