The Maharashtra unit of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) will begin a massive 'Long March' of tens of thousands of farmers tomorrow, March 6 at 3 pm from the CBS Chowk at Nashik. It will cover a distance of nearly 200 Km and will reach Mumbai on March 12. Here the peasants will indefinitely gherao the state assembly which is in session until their demands are met.
The Long March has been organised to denounce the BJP state government for betraying all its assurances given to the peasantry during the last two years on issues like farm loan waiver, remunerative prices, recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission and the implementation of the Forest Rights Act (FRA).
It will also demand the following: Complete change in the river linking scheme proposed to be started in Nashik, Thane and Palghar districts, so as to ensure that tribal villages are not submerged and water is made available to these districts and to other drought-prone districts in the state; opposition to acquisition of peasants' lands in the name of fancy and elitist projects of the rulers like the bullet train and super highways; temple lands and pasture lands to be vested in the names of the tillers; increase in pension schemes to poor peasants and agricultural workers; compensation for great losses sustained by peasants due to pest attacks and hailstorms; and burning issues connected to the public distribution system (PDS).
The Long March will be led by AIKS National President Dr Ashok Dhawale, former State President J P Gavit, MLA, State President Kisan Gujar, state Working President Arjun Ade, state General Secretary Dr Ajit Nawale and all other state office bearers.
AIKS National Joint Secretary Vijoo Krishnan will join the March for the first three days from March 6 and AIKS National General Secretary Hannan Mollah, ex-MP, Adivasi Adhikar Rashtriya Manch (AARM) National Convenor Jitendra Choudhary, MP, CPI(M) state secretary and central committee member Narasayya Adam, ex-MLA, CPI(M) central committee member Mahendra Singh and AIDWA National General Secretary Mariam Dhawale will be present for the culmination in Mumbai on March 12.
Coming in the background of massive independent and joint struggles of the AIKS in Maharashtra during the last two years - the one lakh strong two day siege at Nashik in March 2016, the huge Coffin Rally at Thane in May 2016, the 50,000-strong two day gherao of the Tribal Development Minister's house at Wada in Palghar district in October 2016, the large peasant actions at Aurangabad in Marathwada and Khamgaon in Vidarbha in May 2016 and May 2017, the united and historic 11 day farmers' strike in June 2017, the two lakh strong united statewide Road Blockade (Chakka Jaam) in August 2017 - this Long March will be yet another major struggle led by the AIKS in the state in defence of the peasantry and against the anti-farmer, anti-people, pro-corporate policies and the communal and casteist conspiracies of the RSS-BJP regime.