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Mumbai unaffected by farmers’ strike, claims Khot

Mumbai: Even as the strike by farmers entered the second day, Maharashtra minister Sadabhau Khot today claimed that Mumbai has remained unaffected by the agitation.

“The supply of produce is affected in Nashik and Pune markets but Mumbai’s supply is not affected so far. The marketing department has already issued a toll free number for farmers to support them. If they face any problem, they should contact on the toll free number for help,” Khot, state minister for cooperation and marketing, told reporters here.

Khot, who is also the MoS for Agriculture, said orders have been issued to officials to ensure that there is no rise in prices of essential commodities.

“Trucks carrying essential supplies to major cities in the state including Mumbai are being provided police security,” he said.

On the issue of milk prices shooting up, Khot said the state government has ample stocks of milk powder which it can use to produce milk.

Khot also said the government if need be would contemplate on invoking the provisions of the Maintenance Essential Commodities Act (ESMA).

He also assured that the weekly markets for farmers in Mumbai will continue.

Referring to the farmers stir, he said the government has now decontrolled vegetables and fruits and that the farmers can now directly sell them in the open market instead of selling them at Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMCs).

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had yesterday alleged that opposition parties are instigating the agitation of farmers across the state.

“There are some elements behind the statewide strike of farmers, especially those who could do nothing for last 15 years, despite being in power. They are stretching the strike further,” Khot alleged.

The marketing department will take action against those who would stock food grains in such days and try to create artificial scarcity, said the minister.

This government is keen on solving the problems of farmers. But Congress and NCP are deliberately creating ruckus to halt such processes, Khot alleged.

Meanwhile, Shiv Sena MP Vinayak Raut said the party’s ‘Mi Karjamukt Honar Abhiyan’ (I will be debt free campaign) has so far evoked enthusiastic response and it has been able to reach 10 lakh farmers in the state.

—PTI