Mumbai: Workers across India are uniting to launch another mega agitation against stagnating wages, attack on labour rights, dilution of labour laws, privatisation and price rise among others. Ahead of the all-India strike call by 10 Central trade unions on January 8, preparations are in full swing, with meetings, planning and coordination underway. Along with workers, farmer organisations, too, have given call for ‘Grameen Bandh’ on the same day.
As many as 208 farmers organisations have joined hands under the banner of All India Farmers Struggle Coordination Committee. In Maharashtra, too, all prominent farmer organisations have come together to raise their united voice on January 8.
"Farmers are being looted by government and mega multinational companies. So, it is now the government’s duty to waive off the entire loan of farmers. At the same time, government must also declare one-and-half times higher prices for all crops. The strike on January 8 is significant as farmers are increasingly getting aware about their rights," said All India Kisan Sabha’s (AIKS) Maharashtra president, Ajit Nawale.
Organisations, such as the Swabhimani Shetkari, Kisan Sabha, Lok Sangharsh Morcha, Kisan Andolan, Narmada Bachao Andolan and others are actively participating in the preparation of the ‘Grameen Bandh’.
"We are confident that Maharashtra will see another major protest of farmers. The first farmers strike in the history of Independent India took place in June 2017 in Maharashtra. This time again, farmers are coming together and we will get to see a complete shutdown on January 8," said Raju Shetti, former MP and farmer leader.
As per plans, there will be Rasta Roko (road blockade) agitation in 21 districts of Maharashtra. At the same time, there will be number of morchas and protests at the tehsil level. The extended council of AIKS, Maharashtra met in Mumbai recently to discuss various aspects of the protest.
"The issues of farmers are so serious and urgent that farmers are uniting in large numbers. Be it crop insurance scheme or relief to the farmers who lost their crop in heavy unseasonal rains or hailstorm, we are sure that this agitation will force state government to stop lip service and address the problems of farmers," said Nawale.