MUMBAI: The 10-day 'Strike' call given by the Rashtriya Kisan Mahasngh (RKM) turned ugly in Maharashtra on the first day after the agitating farmers emptied two tankers carrying milk at the Khed-Shivapur toll plaza in Pune district in the wee hours of Friday.
However, after this first incident the agitation proceeded peacefully throughout the day. At Ahmednagar, the farmers who were demanding Rs 27 per liter as the base rate for milk, took their cattles to the district collector's office in protest. They said that government should look after their cattles if they don't want to increase the base rates for milk.
Leaders of the Bhumiputra Sanghatana, who lead the agitation said that the incident of spilling milk at Khed was wrong. But, they also said that the incident underlines the frustration of the farmers.
The Prahar Sanghatana that led another agitation at the deputy collector's office in Ahmednagar shouted slogans for the complete loan waiver.
At Puntamba, in Ahmednagar district from where the last year's agitation in the state had originated, farmers performed Shradh rites (a ceremony in memory of dead relatives) of the assurances given by the government last year.
In Kolhapur, the farmers took out a rally from across the city shouting slogans against the government.
RKM leaders said that the farmers would be on strike for 10 days. However, several prominent farmers' organizations remained away from the strike.
While the Shetkari Sanghatana, said that that instead of strike the farmers should work on demands related to better marketing facilities, Raju Shetty of Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana opined that the strike should not be held during the sowing season.
"It appears that the rains would start soon and it would be good throughout the season. A strike at this time will adversely affect sowing and the crop. It should be avoided," Shetty said.
The people who want to agitate should also do it for blanket loan waiver, he added.