Nashik, 10th January 2024: As Prime Minister Narendra Modi prepares for his scheduled visit to Nashik, farmers’ organizations in Maharashtra are escalating their opposition to the ongoing ban on onion exports.
The organizations, including the Swatantra Bharat Paksha, All India Kisan Sabha, Sharad Joshi-led Farmers Association, Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana led by Raju Shetty, Prahar Janshakti Party, and Maharashtra State Onion Growers Association, have issued warnings of large-scale demonstrations from the airport to the event venue if the export ban is not lifted.
In a joint statement, these farmer groups have appealed to the central government to reconsider the ban on onion exports. They have indicated that failure to lift the ban before the Prime Minister’s visit could result in protests, including the display of black flags. Anil Ghanwat of the Swatantra Bharat Paksha expressed concern that a lack of farmer protests might be misconstrued as support for the government’s decision. General Secretary of the Kisan Sabha, Dr Ajit Navale, and leaders from other farmer associations have also called on fellow farmers to take to the streets and voice their dissent.
Since the imposition of the onion export ban on December 7, farmers in Maharashtra claim to be facing significant losses, ranging from Rs 1,500 to 1,800 per quintal, resulting in a cumulative loss of around 1500 crores. Bharat Dighole, president of the Maharashtra State Onion Producers Association, has demanded compensation from the central government to alleviate the financial burden on the affected farmers.
With the Prime Minister’s visit approaching, leaders of farmers’ organizations in the Nashik district are expected to be stationed in the area a day before. The leaders have urged ordinary onion farmers to actively participate in demonstrations even in the absence of organizational leaders.
In a meeting with the police administration on Tuesday, the leaders of these farmers’ associations sought an opportunity to meet with Prime Minister Modi to discuss their concerns and demands.