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A historic ralley of over 35,000 farmers which started from Nashik district will surround the Maharashtra Assembly tomorrow demanding loan waivers and other just demands. They walked about 180 km over the last five days. They entered Mumbai, the capital of Maharashtra today and are camping at KJ Somaiya Ground in Sion.

The farmer contingent, including tribal cultivators, led by the Left-affiliated All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), plans to gherao the Vidhan Sabha tomorrow to press their demands for complete loan waiver and transfer of adivasi land to farmers who have been tilling it for years. They also demand the implementation of Swaminathan Committee report, which says farmers should be paid one-and-a-half times the cost of production for what they produce and the MSP’s should be fixed keeping this in mind.

Protesting farmers have demanded a change in the plan to link rivers in Nashik, Thane, and Palghar to ensure that tribal lands are not submerged and water from the scheme be made available to these areas as well as other drought-prone districts, the organisers said.

They said that farmers were also protesting against the state government’s land acquisition for projects like high-speed rail and superhighways.

The farmers began their march on Tuesday evening. Their numbers swelled along the way. They survived on sparse meals, made brief halts and slept under the open sky. They resumed their march before the sun was up and didn’t stop before noon.

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