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Farmer Groups Say No to Government Food, Host Their Own Lunch at Delhi’s Vigyan Bhawan | India News

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NEW DELHI: Peasant leaders on Thursday rejected the lunch offered by the government during their meeting with three Union ministers here, preferring to eat the food transported in a van from the Singhu border, where thousands of their colleagues are sitting in protest against the new agriculture. laws.
The fourth round of talks began around noon amid continued protests from farmers seeking to repeal the laws.
During the lunch break, a small van carrying food for about 40 people was seen outside of Vigyan Bhawan, where the meeting is taking place.
“The representatives of our farmers did not accept the lunch offered by the government and we organized it from the Singhu border,” Lok Sangarsh Morcha President Pratibha Shinde told PTI.
Farmer leaders told the government to focus on solving problems rather than trying to be a good host by offering lunch, he said.
“How can we have a government-hosted lunch when our fellow farmers are sitting on the roads?” Said Shinde, whose organization is among 40 farmer groups participating in the talks.
Thousands of farmers have been camping on the Singhu and Tikri borders of the national capital for the past eight days as part of their protest against the laws.
Union Minister of Agriculture Narendra Singh Tomar, Minister of Railways, Trade and Food, Piyush Goyal, and Minister of State for Commerce Som Parkash, who is a MP from Punjab, are holding talks with representatives of the farmer groups in Vigyan Bhawan.
The government said the meeting started in the afternoon and discussions are taking place in a cordial atmosphere.
On December 1, talks between the two sides ended in a stalemate after farmer groups rejected the government’s suggestion of a new committee to examine issues raised by protesting farmers.
The government had rejected the demand to repeal the laws and asked farmers’ bodies to identify specific issues related to the recently enacted laws and submit them by December 2 for consideration and discussion on Thursday.
Enacted in September, the laws have been presented by the government as major reforms in the agricultural sector by cutting out middlemen and allowing farmers to sell anywhere in the country.
However, protesting farmers were concerned that the new laws would remove the safety cushion of a Minimum Livelihood Price (MSP) and a procurement system, while rendering ineffective the mandi system that ensures profit for various stakeholders in the agricultural sector.
On Wednesday, agitated farmers demanded that the Center convene a special session of Parliament and repeal the Trade in Agricultural Products and Trade (Promotion and Facilitation) Act of 2020; the Farmers’ Agreement (Empowerment and Protection) on Price Guarantee and Agricultural Services Law, 2020; and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020.

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