Supplies from the producing regions in the State have fallen sharply

The indefinite strike called by farmers in Maharashtra since Thursday seeking waiver of their loans has led to a surge in the prices of vegetables and milk, especially in cities such as Mumbai.

Prices of some vegetables have risen by up to 40 per cent over last week’s prices as supplies have dwindled sharply from the producing regions in the State.

Milk prices have risen by at least ₹3 a litre.

In Navi Mumbai, the Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC)-controlled market yard unloaded only 153 vehicles till Friday morning. On Thursday, the first day of the strike, 450 vehicles had ferried the goods. Usually, the market receives about 550 vehicles.

In the past two days, farmers especially in northern and western Maharashtra, have stopped sending milk and vegetables to the cities. They have been resorting to violence and dumping their produce on the streets. The first day of the strike also saw incidents of sporadic violence, where farmer groups attacked trucks carrying vegetables and milk.

About 42 farmer organisations in the State under the Kisan Kranti Morcha (KKM) have warned that if their demands for loan waiver were not met, they will call for a Maharashtra hartal on June 5, which could escalate to June 6 and June 7 when they will lock up government and BJP offices across the State.

KKM wants farm loans of ₹1.34 lakh crore waived and free power for agriculture pumps.

The leader of the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS) and MP, Raju Shetti, is an ally of the NDA, but has taken an anti-government stance.

Shetti told BusinessLine that the strike was spreading across Maharashtra as more farmers are joining the protests.

Before Narendra Modi came to power in 2014, he had assured the people of Maharashtra that farm loans would be waived and the recommendations of the MS Swaminathan Committee Report on minimum support price would be implemented. Even three years later, the Modi government has not fulfilled the promises, he said.

KKM convenor Jayaji Suryavanshi said Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had called for a meeting on Friday with KKM leaders and that he hoped that a solution would be found .