MUMBAI: Soaring prices of vegetables and fruits in Mumbai and some other cities are slowly getting stabilized with increased inflow of agricultural produce even as farmers' protest in Maharashtra entered its seventh day today.
Amid a rift within protesters earlier, a state convention of farmers will be held tomorrow in Nashik, around 150 km from here. The meeting has been convened by the Kisan Kranti Morcha (KKM).
According to an official source, substantial inflow of vegetables and fruits in Pune, Navi Mumbai, and Vashi agricultural produce market committees (APMCs) has somewhat stabilized their prices. "The situation has slowly started normalizing. Prices have come down as compared to the last three to four days," the source said.
The situation has started returning to normal in Nashik and Ahmednagar districts, the epicenters of the stir. Days after business remained subdued due to protests and shortage of supply, the Nashik APMC today received 64 quintals of vegetables. Meanwhile, security has been stepped up outside houses of legislators and MPs of the ruling BJP after agitating farmers today put a lock outside the house of R T Deshmukh, the party MLA from Majalgaon in Beed district.
In Solapur's Barshi, former state minister Dilip Sopal locked his house in solidarity with the agitating farmers. The developments came a day after Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced that Maharashtra government will come out with a loan waiver before October 31, which will benefit 1.07 crore farmers who have less than five-acre land holding.
According to a Home department official, police personnel were deployed at the residences of prominent ministers following the "lockdown" protest. In Ahmednagar, security was beefed up outside the house of BJP MP Dilip Gandhi, while in Nandurbar, additional forces were deployed outside the residences of party MP Heena Gavit and legislators Vijaykumar Gavit and Chandrakant Raghuvanshi.
In Latur, police personnel were deployed at the residence of BJP minister Sambhaji Patil Nilangekar to prevent farmers from protesting there. In Solapur too, policemen were stationed outside the residence of state Cooperative minister Subhash Deshmukh.
In Beed district, women workers of the Shiv Sena tonsured their heads in solidarity with farmers and as a mark of protest against the government. They raised slogans against the chief minister as well as the state cabinet minister from the region, Pankaja Munde.
Ahmednagar district, neighboring Nashik, remained largely peaceful, with no untoward incident being reported today. The activists, taking part in the farmers' stir, demanded a complete loan waiver and implementation of recommendations of the Swaminathan committee.
Farmers in various parts of the state are protesting for a complete loan waiver, a guaranteed minimum support price for their produce, among other demands.
The Shiv Sena and the Swabhimani Shetkari Sangathana, who are allies in the BJP-led government, are supporting the agitation being spearheaded by various farmers' groups.
The farmers launched their stir on June 1, suspending supply of milk and vegetables to towns and cities. After a partial loan waiver was announced by the Fadnavis government for small and marginal farmers last Saturday, a section of farmers announced the withdrawal of their agitation.
However, protests continued as another section stuck to its demand for a blanket loan waiver.