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Farmers in Nashik Protest, Pelt Deputy Chief Minister’s Convoy with Onions and Tomatoes Over Agricultural Woes

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A group of aggrieved farmers in Nashik took to the streets on Saturday morning, waylaying the convoy of Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and resorting to a unique form of protest by pelting his vehicles with onions and tomatoes. The farmers, frustrated with their agricultural challenges, aimed to draw attention to their grievances as Pawar traveled from Ojhar Airport to Dindori.

Demand for Agricultural Support:
The irate farmers, waving black flags, raised slogans against the state government and made specific demands. They called for the rollback of the export duty on onions and the implementation of a fair minimum support price for tomatoes, highlighting the need to secure a sustainable livelihood for those involved in cultivation. One protester expressed their concerns, stating, “We condemn the government’s policies… Farmers are suffering… We demand the removal of export duty on onions and a reasonable minimum support price for tomatoes.”

Police Intervention:
The protest led to a temporary disruption of the convoy’s movement. In response, a contingent of police personnel from nearby Kalwan arrived at the scene and worked to ensure the safe passage of the convoy. Several protesters were escorted away from the area to maintain order.

Agricultural Challenges and Previous Strikes:
The incident occurs in the context of rising tomato prices, which had crossed the Rs 200 mark between May and August, but have now seen a significant drop to retail rates ranging between Rs 12 and Rs 18 per kilogram, depending on the market. This fluctuation has adversely affected farmers who rely on tomato cultivation.

Nashik’s onion farmers had previously gone on a 13-day strike by halting wholesale trade to demand the removal of export duty on onions. The strike was called off on October 3, following assurances from the government. However, wholesale traders have given authorities a month to take concrete action.

Embarrassment for Deputy Chief Minister:
The unusual protest with onions and tomatoes caught Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and his team off guard. They had arrived in Nashik to oversee pre-election work for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, where the breakaway Nationalist Congress Party is expected to contest from the Nashik seat.

The farmers’ protest highlights the pressing agricultural issues faced by the farming community in Nashik and underscores their determination to seek solutions to ensure a sustainable and prosperous future in agriculture.


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