Scores of angry farmers attempted to waylay Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar’s car and convoy, and pelted them with onions and tomatoes to draw his attention to their woes, here on Saturday morning.
The incident took place when Ajit Pawar was proceeding from Ojhar Airport to Dindori, and his fleet of vehicles was blocked by the irate farmers who raised slogans against the state government, and targeted the cars with onions and tomatoes.
The farmers waved black flags to the VIP convoy, demanded roll-back of the export duty on onion and a good support price for tomatoes to ensure proper livelihood for the cultivators.
“We condemn the government’s policies… Farmers are dying… We want withdrawal of the export duty on onions and a suitable minimum support price for tomatoes,” one of the protesters told mediapersons there.
A strong posse of police from nearby Kalwan managed to reach the spot and whisked off many of the protestors without any untoward incidents.
After the tomato prices touched over Rs 200 between May-August, now the retail rates are in the range of Rs 12-18/kg depending on the markets, hitting the cultivators badly.
Similarly, the onion farmers in Nashik went on a 13-day strike by stopping wholesale trade to demand yanking off the export duty on the teary staple vegetable.
The strike was called off on October 3 after assurances by the government but the wholesale traders have given a month’s ultimatum to the authorities to act, failing which they would strike afresh.
The “onion-tomato” welcome left Pawar and his team embarrassed as they had come for overseeing the pre-election work for the Lok Sabha polls in which the breakaway Nationalist Congress Party is expected to contest from the Nashik seat.