Farmers block highway to demand lifting of onion export ban

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Nashik, Feb 15 (PTI) A large number of onion growerstoday blocked traffic on the Mumbai-Agra National Highway nearhere demanding lifting of the ban on onion export.

The agitation affected vehicular traffic at PimpalgaonBaswant, about 25 km from here, on the busy highway for hours,police said.

The Centre had banned export of onions last month inview of soaring prices of the vegetable. Onion prices havecome down in the last few weeks and the farmers want the banlifted as it was causing them financial losses.

The rasta-roko'' agitation, launched a few days ago,is being spearheaded by Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana MP RajuShetty, who earlier addressed a farmers'' rally.

Speaking at the rally at Pimpalgaon Baswant, Shettysaid both Maharashtra and Central Governments were pursuing"anti-farmer" policies.

If the Centre fails to lift the ban, farmers willintensify their stir, the Kolhapur MP warned.

Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) office atPimpalgaon remained closed following the rally.

Shetty and more than 200 farmers were detained in abid to clear the highway, police said.

Farmers also briefly staged a "rasta roko" at Manmadnear here on the same issue.

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