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Peasant Leaders and Central Ministers Meeting on Farm Laws Achieves No Results, Railroad Blockade Will Continue in Punjab | India News


NEW DELHI: The meeting of Punjab farmer representatives with Union Ministers Narendra Singh Tomar and Piyush Goyal here on Friday yielded no results and both sides stuck to their respective points on the newly enacted central agricultural laws. On a positive note, however, they agreed to have more discussions about the farmers’ demands.
Until then, the farmers would continue their protests, including blocking the railway tracks in Punjab, demanding the repeal of the central agricultural laws. They insisted on their plan to hold a protest march to Delhi on November 26-27 if their demands were not met, including a guarantee to guarantee the legal guarantee of the minimum support price (MSP).
“The discussions were held in a very cordial atmosphere. Certainly, there were differences between their views and the government’s positions. But the discussions will continue, ”Tomar said after the seven-hour meeting.
Peasant leaders wanted freight train services to resume as Punjab was suffering from the blockade. The ministers, however, told them that the Center was eager to start passenger and freight trains to the state. Train services to the state remain suspended due to farmer unrest.
“The meeting ended without any results. However, the decision of the agriculture minister to continue the dialogue with the farmers’ representatives is a positive sign. We could present our views and demands in detail. The ministers listened to us patiently “said Darshan Pal, Punjab president of the Krantikari Kisan Union (KKU), who attended the meeting along with representatives of the 30 farmers’ Union.
Peasant leaders are expected to take a call on their next course of action, including allowing passenger trains to operate in Punjab, at their meeting in Chandigarh on November 18. They said the central government assured them that it would consider creating a joint panel. , made up of representatives of the government and farmers’ unions, to examine their demands.
Farmer representatives during the Vigyan Bhawan meeting also expressed concern about the power of the newly formed Commission on Air Quality to imprison farmers and impose heavy penalties on burning stubble. They said such a move was quite unjustified at a time when there was no economically viable solution available to them to handle rice straw.
On the main concerns of farmers about the fate of the MSP under the new farm laws, Union ministers assured farmer leaders that the procurement of agricultural products in MSP and the ‘Mandi’ system will continue as before.
Officials from the Ministry of Agriculture during the meeting gave a detailed presentation on the agricultural laws and associated agricultural reform measures, and explained how the new Farm Law would encourage ‘Mandis’ to provide better services to farmers.
“It was ensured that the government of India is always committed to protecting the interests of farmers and is always open to discussions for the welfare of farmers. The talks were held in a cordial atmosphere and both parties agreed to continue holding further discussions, ”said a statement from the Ministry of Agriculture.
Referring to the meeting, the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), an organization that brings together more than 200 farmer groups in the country, said: “The government did not commit to withdraw its black laws or to introduce a legally guaranteed MSP regime for all farmers and all agricultural products, and had no proactive or constructive response to the issues raised by agricultural leaders on this front. ”
The Committee condemned the central government for its refusal to back down from “its punitive measures against Punjab,” and demanded that the Ministry of Railways operate freight trains immediately and “stop the vengeful movement of the state’s economic blockade.”
In addition to Tomar and Goyal, State Minister for Commerce and Industries Som Prakash and Punjab government officials also attended the meeting, which was the Center’s second effort to bring protesting farmers to the table to dispel their concerns about new farm laws.
The first such meeting was held on October 14. However, representatives of 29 Punjab farmers’ organizations walked out of the meeting, chaired by the Union’s agriculture secretary, Sanjay Agarwal, citing the absence of the agriculture minister. They had then held the position that it was pointless to discuss the matter with the secretary, as he had no authority to make decisions on their demands.

Times of India