CM declares 50% relief to onion farmers as Nashik-Mumbai 'long march' starts

by IANS |

Mumbai, March 13 (IANS) Rattled by the prospects of a third Nashik-Mumbai 'long march' by farmers, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Monday announced a subsidy of Rs 300/quintal to the affected agriculturists.

"The red onion of the Kharif season has arrived in the market on a large scale, there is an increase in onion production in other states in the country. Owing to this the supply has exceeded the demand, leading to a fall in the prices," Shinde informed the Maharashtra Assembly.

Announcing the Rs 300/quintal subsidy, the CM said that it would give a big relief to the affected farmers.

Since the past few weeks, the onion farmers in the state are on a warpath as they are getting absurd prices of Rs 2/quintal in the wholesale markets, far below their production costs.

Demanding at least Rs 600/quintal compensation, in many places the farmers have thrown the onions on the highways where they got crushed by speeding vehicles, let loose cattle in many onion farms and some made a bonfire of the teary vegetable.

The Opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) has strongly supported the demand for Rs 600/quintal and sought Rs 2,000/quintal MSP from the next season to protect the farmers' interests.

However, Shinde has ruled out MSP for onion saying it's a perishable crop, but an important price-sensitive cash crop in the state, and is subject to the total production in the country, the domestic and international demands, etc.

He said that a committee was appointed which recommended a subsidy of Rs 200 or Rs 300 per quintal, but the government stands with the farmers and has decided to give Rs 300/quintal.

Responding to this, the MVA leaders like Chhagan Bhujbal have demanded that the subsidy should be hiked to at least Rs 500/quintal.

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