Protesting India farmers: 'We want what we were promised'


Tens of thousands of Indian farmers have spent days walking 160km (100 miles) to Mumbai to demand respite from loans, higher prices for their produce and rights to forest land. BBC Marathi's Janhavee Moole and Rahul Ransubhe spoke to some of them.

Subhash Kalu Gangode

We are here to protest against the unfair policies adopted by the state government of Maharashtra with respect to farmers.

I had borrowed 40,000 rupees (about $615; £444) under a "crop loan" [loans for farmers to buy fertilisers, seeds and other materials required for farming].

The state government announced in June 2017 that it was waiving loans to help farmers in debt. I completed all the paperwork that was required to get the waiver.

But it is yet to come into effect. I have checked with the bank several times.

I know I am eligible because the waiver applied to all loans up to 150,000 rupees.

Chhayatai Gulhane

I own an agricultural field that I'm cultivating on my own but the produce I grow is priced too low.

It should be priced fairly. [One of the protesters' demands is that the government should pay them at least one-and-a-half times the cost of their crops.]

I have borrowed more than 100,000 rupees from government-run banks.

My family and I need those loans to be written off because nature has been cruel to us for the past few years. Sometimes it rains abruptly and sometimes the crops get infected and we cannot harvest much.

My husband died six months ago and I have a large family to look after - sons, daughters-in-law, grandchildren. My sons are searching for jobs so they can help support the family.

Ramesh Devram Lahare

We [tribal farmers] are asking the government to grant us the forest land we have been cultivating. They promised us this land but are yet to transfer it to us.

We are asking for five to six acres of land in each of our names.

I have to look after my parents and my sister - cultivating farm land is my only means of livelihood.

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