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Opinion

No progress as farmers tell Amit Shah they want a total reversal

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The union’s interior minister, Amit Shah, met with a group of 14 agricultural community leaders in the capital on Tuesday night, but their informal negotiations a day before crucial delegation-level talks between the government and agricultural unions to resolve the ongoing farmer agitation did not work. achieve a breakthrough.

At the meeting at the state-run Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) Pusa Complex, Shah said Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar would put forward a concrete proposal in Wednesday’s talks and propose key amendments to the controversial agricultural laws that have sparked protests, according to peasant leaders who reiterated that their only demand is the elimination of the legislation that liberalizes agricultural trade.

“We have rejected the proposal. And now we will discuss among ourselves whether to go ahead with the talks tomorrow (Wednesday) … what’s the point? “said Darshan Pal of the Krantikari Kisan Union, pointing to the uncertainty surrounding the future of the dialogue process.

Also read: Protesting farmers forced to shower at odd hours, women stand in long lines to use the toilets

Farmers’ leaders said that a meeting of Samyukt Kisan Morcha, the platform under which various agricultural unions are spearheading protests on the Delhi borders, will hold a meeting at 10 am Wednesday to decide its course of action.

At Wednesday’s meeting, Shah said the government would propose amendments related to a fee structure in notified agricultural commodity market committees (APMC), stricter provisions to safeguard farmers’ land rights, strengthening notified markets and a guarantee on minimum support prices (MSP). , according to Hanan Mollah of the Kisan Sabha.

There was no official news from the government about what happened in the talks.

Wednesday’s meeting, if held, will mark the sixth time the two sides have held talks on farmers’ demand to remove the three market-friendly farm laws that they say will hurt their incomes and benefit large corporations. . Farmers imposed a nationwide shutdown from 11 a.m. on Tuesday. M. At 3 p. M., That it was peaceful.

At least two farmers invited to speak with Shah said before the meeting that they expected the government to offer concessions, such as amendments to the three laws, but said they would accept nothing less than a repeal of the laws.

Shiv Kumar Sharma Kakaji of the Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh, a farmers’ union leader, said before joining the group that farmers would repeat their demand to repeal the laws.

“The government is expected to suggest amendments. Our position is that we want the laws to be withdrawn, ”he said. “One of the issues that we will raise with the Interior Minister is the arrest of several farmers in and around Delhi, including Karol Bagh,” he added.

Also Read: Farmers Today Are Much Better Informed, Says Congress Leader Kamal Nath

Tens of thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, protest a set of market-friendly farm laws by camping on the borders of Delhi. Farmers have been stocking up on supplies for months, preparing to dig for months.

The government pushed through the three laws in September to deregulate agricultural markets and allow private traders to store large amounts of essential commodities for future sales, which officials say will spur investments in supply chains. Farmers in Punjab and Haryana rely heavily on strictly regulated markets that are decades old to sell basic goods at prices assured to the government.

Farmers say government-controlled notified markets will collapse due to competition from markets deregulated under the new laws, as trading in the latter will be free of fees or service charges.

Since free markets, which could even be a farmer’s door or warehouse under the new laws, do not have applicable fees for trade, farmers feel that traders will abandon traditional markets. Large traders and intermediaries control these markets and influence farmers. They buy their products and often provide credit to farmers, creating dependencies.

“The government is likely to present a plan detailing specific measures to strengthen notified markets, a fee structure so that both new free and notified markets can coexist in a true competitive spirit,” said an official.

Rakesh Tikait, the leader of the Tikait faction of the Bharatiya Kisan Union, a farmers ‘union, said: “Efforts are underway to resolve farmers’ protests. Our bandh today has been successful and peaceful. ”

Although previous rounds of discussions led by agriculture minister Tomar have shown no signs of ending the stalemate, the interior minister has been speaking informally with farmers’ representatives to facilitate a solution.

The third round of talks was facilitated by several rounds of telephone conversations between Shah and key agricultural union leaders, which took place on December 1.

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