MUMBAI: Farmers in Maharashtra poured their milk in the streets, dumped freshly harvested tomatoes in their fields and stopped milk and vegetable supplies to Mumbai after talks with the chief minister over loan and electricity waivers failed Thursday.
Chief minister devendra Fadnavis has blamed the opposition for instigating the farmers.
"Farmers are being used and instigated to be violent. Certain political parties are trying to gain an advantage from this strike. Farmers' goods are being stopped, they are not being allowed to sell their produce. Efforts are being made to pitch farmers against the police,” he said.
Fadnavis said he was working towards meeting some of the farmers’ demands and committed his government to hold further talks with the farmers.
Earlier in the day, Fadnavis chaired a state-level bankers' meeting to decide the state's credit policy. He said 13 district cooperative (DCC) banks that are currently facing a cash crunch would be accepted as agents by commercial banks and provided funds so that the DCC banks can help farmers.
Fadnavis also urged milk federations should pay higher prices to farmers.
Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) president Ashok Chavan said his party supports the farmers' agitation. However, earlier in the day, his party colleague and the leader of the opposition in the Legislative Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil had tried to broker peace between the striking farmers and the state government.
Fadnavis defended his goernment's treatment of the farmers' demands. He said during the rule of predecessor governments, farmers had gotten direct financial assistance of only Rs. 4500 crore while his government has handed out Rs 12000 crore.