Center’s talks with protesting farmers remain inconclusive, fourth round of talks Thursday | India News
Representatives of farmers’ organizations speak to the media after holding talks with Union ministers about the new agricultural laws, at Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi on Tuesday.
NEW DELHI: Farmer agitation will continue as talks between the central government and representatives of the agricultural unions on Tuesday ended inconclusively with a mere promise to meet again for a fourth round of discussions on Thursday. Peasant leaders insisted that they will not suspend the ongoing protests until they get a firm guarantee to repeal the newly enacted farm laws.
Meanwhile, Punjab farmers unions are expected to report to the agriculture ministry “specific issues (objections) related to the land reform laws” on Wednesday that the government will discuss during the next meeting on Thursday and try to resolve them with “consent. mutual”. ”.
Although the government side proposed setting up expert committees to raise farmers ‘problems and come up with solutions, the farmers’ unions rejected this suggestion saying that they would prefer that all their representatives attend the next round of discussion.
“The meeting was good and we have decided that the talks will take place on December 3 (Thursday). We wanted smaller groups (four to five people) to be formed to discuss the laws clause by clause, but the peasant leaders wanted the talks to take place with everyone. We have no problem with that, ”said Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, who led the government side at the meeting.
He said: “We call on farmers to suspend the protests and come to the talks. However, this decision is up to the farmers’ unions. ”
Union Minister of Railways Piyush Goyal, who has an additional post from the Food and Public Distribution Ministry, and State Minister of Commerce Som Prakash were also at the meeting where senior government officials made a detailed presentation. to farmer leaders about the recently enacted farm laws. . They explained how it would strengthen and modernize the ‘Mandi’ system by concentrating on continuous acquisition at a minimum support price (MSP).
Farmer groups, however, expressed reservations about these laws, saying that the measure will not only end the MSP mechanism but will also dismantle the ‘Mandi’ system in due course. Up to 35 groups, including 32 from Punjab, one from Haryana and two from national farmers’ alliances such as AIKSCC and RKMS, attended the meeting which continued for over three hours in Vigyan Bhawan.
Meanwhile, the government opened another channel of talks with representatives of prominent non-Punjab groups, including the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Tikait) and held a parallel meeting at the agriculture ministry with them. The BKU (Tikait), which expressed its desire to join the talks, has a large following among farmers in western Uttar Pradesh. The group has mobilized a large number of farmers who have gathered at the Ghazipur border, blocking the traffic from UP to Delhi.
Representatives of other smaller groups from Haryana, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh were also present at the meeting which was started by officials from the agriculture ministry and later joined by Union ministers Tomar and Goyal.
Referring to the meeting with representatives of other states and BKU (Tikait), Tomar said: “We have told them that they must give us their problems in writing and we will discuss it. The talks with the Tikait union took place in a very good atmosphere ”.
“We will present a draft of our agricultural law issues tomorrow (Wednesday). The government has started a conversation with farmers in Punjab, UP, Uttarakhand, Haryana and Delhi. So, until the next meeting on December 3, the government has time to brainstorm the issues raised by everyone, “said Naresh Tikait, president of BKU.
“Various topics related to the agrarian reform laws were discussed extensively and the conversations took place in a cordial atmosphere. It was ensured that the government of India is always committed to protecting the interests of farmers and is always open to discussions on the welfare of farmers, ”the agriculture ministry said in a statement about meeting with Punjab farmers unions. at Vigyan Bhawan.
Agitated farmers have been demanding the repeal of three core farm laws and the withdrawal of the electricity bill (amendment) that seeks to end direct subsidies. Under the proposed law, all consumers, including farmers, will be required to pay the fee and the subsidy will be sent to them via direct benefit transfer (DBT).
After meeting in Vigyan Bhawan, the AIKSCC, a body that brings together more than 400 farmers ‘organizations, announced that farmers’ protests will intensify further, until their demands are met.
“During our next meeting on December 3 with the government, we will convince them that no clause in the farm bill favors farmers. Our agitation will continue, ”said Prem Singh Bhangu, president of the Indian Kisan Federation, after the meeting.