Orange growers from Katol and Narkhed Market Committees resorted to unique protest in order to press for their demand to get price of their fresh orange produce. The farmers gathered at the premises of both the committees and tonsured their heads in support of their demand. The agitation was led by NCP leaders.
Agitating members informed that the fresh orange crops have still not been plucked from the orchards as the farmers are not able to sell their produce for the want of fair prices. The farmers also threw the oranges on roads to register their protest. Hundreds of farmers shaved off their heads as a mark of protest.
In a strong appeal to the government, NCP leader and ex-minister Anil Deshmukh has said that urgent intervention was needed to protect the orange orchard owners. “The market rates are so low that farmers are not finding it worthwhile to sell oranges. As a result, the fruit is rotting on trees,” said Deshmukh.
The cost of plucking oranges and transporting them add up to Rs3,000 a tonne. But market rates for the produce are as low as Rs2,000 to Rs3,000 a tonne. As a result, the growers are destroying oranges though there is a bumper Ambia Bahar crop this season,” said Deshmukh.
His son, Salil, led the agitation at Katol at 12 noon on Friday in which farmers staged a protest against the government’s failure to come to the rescue of orange growers.
After huge crop losses in soyabean because of bad monsoon and poor return from cotton because of poor market rates, farmers of Nagpur district were hoping at last on orange that is produced in sizeable numbers in this belt. But unremunerative prices have dashed their hopes. He alleged that the BJP-led government was totally insensitive to the farmers’ cause.