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Mumbai pledges 100% to meet farmers’ demands
March 13, 2018, 9:19 am

India’s landless, for hundreds of millions of poor farmers and for so-called tribal communities who often live in resource-rich areas where lucrative mining operations are causing massive environmental damage [Image: People’s Archive of Rural India]

The Indian government and the state of Maharashtra has promised tens of thousands of protesting farmers that it will expand the loan-waiver regimen and the transfer of forestland titles in their names.

Millions of people who live in India’s vast forest lands have never had legal rights to the land they live on nor the homes they had established.

In 2006, India passed the Forest Rights Act which was designed to right the wrongs that these forest inhabitants had faced in titles and deeds to forest lands.

However, since 2012 the Act has not been implemented and this has threatened the livelihood of some 10 million tribal peoples who live in the forest lands.

On Monday, the Maharashtra government said it would “100 per cent” meet the protesters demands including forestland titles and allowing residents there to till the land.

However, it asked for six months to fulfill its pledge to meet all demands.

The government’s acquiescence came after two days of protests as tens of thousands of forest people and farmers, with their families in tow, descended on the Maharashtra state capital of Mumbai in a bid to pressure the local government.

The protest was organized by the Communist Party of India and started in the Nashik district, 170 kilometers from Mumbai. Protesters and their families walked on foot to the state capital.

Several delegations from the forest land peoples and farmers met with government over the course of two days.

The protesters also demanded that they be paid 1.5 times the cost of their crops to compensate for losses in the agricultural sector.

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies

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