Consumers in Maharashtra are beginning to feel the pinch of farmers’ strike as the supply of fruits, vegetables and milk is in short on the second day of strike on Friday. Arrivals dropped to barely 10% in most agriculture produce market committees. The striking farmers have called for a Maharashtra Bandh on June 5. The decision was taken at the meeting of the core committee of the ‘Kisan Kranti’ at Puntamba, which is coordinating the activities across the state.
Though the farmers have planned to intensify the agitation from June 5, the core committee members are in Mumbai to meet Maharashtra chief minister Fadnavis.
“We have decided to call for a bandh on June 5 across Maharashtra barring Mumbai. Only ambulances will be allowed to ply on roads and medical supplies will not be affected. The committee has also received a call from the office of the chief minister and some of the members are on way to Mumbai to meet the CM. If the talks fail, the strike will continue,” Kiran Suralkar, a core committee member of Kisan Kranti, told FE. On Thursday night, the chief minister has made it clear that it would not be possible to grant a loan waiver to all farmers.
Apart from the call for a “chakka jam” (blocking of roads) and bandh on June 5, the striking farmers have decided to shut offices of tehsildars on June 6 and prevent MLAs and MPs from stepping outside their offices on June 7, he said. The strike has been successful on the second day as well with more farmers joining the movement, he said.
Significantly, arrivals of fruits and vegetables were affected across several parts of the state with nearly all the 14 agriculture produce market committees in Nashik doing almost no business. The situation was similar in Ahmednagar, Satara, Kolhapur, Sangli, Aurangabad and parts of Vidarbha. Arrivals of fruits and vegetables in APMC markets dropped to 25% in Pune and barley 150 trucks arrived in Vashi compared to 400-odd trucks on a daily basis, said Sanjay Pansare, president of the Fruits and Vegetables Association at Vashi APMC.
Prices of vegetables went up by 40% while coriander was sold at `100 a bunch, he said. In Pune as well, vegetable prices doubled while the arrivals declined 25%, said Deepak Khaire, chairman of Pune APMC. Long queues were witnessed for milk as it was in short supply.