De­mands met, Maha kisan jam over

DNA (Delhi) - - Front Page - San­jay Jog san­jay.jog@dnain­dia.net

Mum­bai: Amid a ris­ing wave of sym­pa­thy for protest­ing farm­ers, in­creased me­dia glare and pres­sure ex­erted by ri­val par­ties, the gov­ern­ment on Mon­day evening promised to ad­dress the ag­i­ta­tors’ is­sues in a time-bound man­ner. Soon af­ter, the farm­ers called off their demon­stra­tion.

The prom­ises in­clude the trans­fer of for­est land be­ing tilled by tribal cul­ti­va­tors for decades, un­der the For­est Rights Act, 2006, within six months, re­lax­ation of loan waiver con­di­tions, and more pen­sion for poor and el­derly farm­ers.

Af­ter walk­ing for over 180 km, thou­sands of farm­ers, who had set out from Nashik dis­trict five days ago, had reached Azad Maidan in Mum­bai, in the early hours. A del­e­ga­tion of farm­ers met Chief Min­is­ter Deven­dra Fad­navis at Mantralaya in the af­ter­noon. Later, top min­is­ters also ad­dressed those gath­ered at Azad Maidan.

The state gov­ern­ment may have averted a cri­sis, but ex­perts said le­gal and ad­min­is­tra­tive wran­gles will likely de­lay the process and there are miles to go be­fore the de­mands fruc­tify.

The trans­fer of land ti­tle was ne­ces­si­tated to se­cure the rights of the peo­ple work­ing on com­mu­nity lands and to help the farm­ers se­cure loans to opt for ba­sic ir­ri­ga­tion fa­cil­i­ties.

The ma­jor op­po­si­tion comes from the de­part­ment of forests for such a trans­fer of land, es­pe­cially from 16 tribal dis­tricts. As on Jan­uary, the gram sab­has had re­ceived a to­tal of 3,64,313 per­sonal claims for trans­fer of for­est land of which 1,54,614 claims were sanc­tioned.

Land ad­mea­sur­ing 3.45 lakh acre has been ap­proved across the state. Another three to four lakh claims are pend­ing for de­ci­sion.

Fad­navis said ‘’We have promised that we will give to trib­als what­ever they are el­i­gi­ble for.’’ Tribal Af­fairs Min­is­ter Vishnu Savra said that farm­ers had com­plained that they should be given the rights of the land they cul­ti­vate. “The CM has agreed to the de­mand and Chief Sec­re­tary will fol­low-up on this and im­ple­men­ta­tion will start in six months.” But for­mer tribal af­fair min­is­ter Mad­hukar Pichad, who had also worked as the for­est min­is­ter, told DNA, ‘’The for­est de­part­ment has a rigid view on the trans­fer of land to trib­als.’’

Full re­port on dnain­dia.com

—SAL­MAN AN­SARI/DNA

Mum­bai res­i­dents dis­trib­ute wa­ter to farm­ers

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