Farmers march to Azad Maidan for loan waiver; traffic hit in Mumbai

New Delhi, Nov 22: Thousands of farmers from Maharashtra have started their protest march from Chunnabhati to Azad Maidan in Mumbai to press for their demands, which include compensation for drought and the transfer of forest rights to tribals.Magsaysay award winner Dr Rajendra Singh, also known as Waterman of India, is among the marchers.They started walking on Wednesday afternoon from Thane and halted at the Somaiyya Ground in the night.The farmers are scheduled to meet Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis later in the evening.Traffic from Chembur to Dadar on Eastern Express highway has been hit during the protest march.All bridges and several parts of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar road have been blocked for the protest.This is the third mass protest of farmers in Maharashtra within a year.Earlier in March this year, around 25,000 farmers under the banner of the All India Kisan Sabha carried out a protest march, demanding a complete farm loan waiver.In July, dairy farmers too protested, seeking a hike in milk prices.The fast-paced developments began Tuesday with disgruntled PDP leader Muzaffar Hussain Beigh hitting out at a possible alliance between his party and National Conference saying "it will be a government of one religion" and people and Jammu and Ladakh regions would not like it.Despite opposition from some quarters, the attempts at government formation by PDP,  NC and Congress intensified on Wednesday and culminated in the dissolution of the assembly by the Governor.Governor's rule was clamped in the state on June 19 for a 6-month period following the collapse of the PDP-BJP coalition government after the saffron party withdrew support.The state assembly was also kept in suspended animation so that political parties could explore the possibility of forming a new government.PTI