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On the eve of negotiations, farmers increase their demands | India News


NEW DELHI: Ahead of their new round of talks with the Center on Wednesday, farm unions opposing the new farm laws revised one of their four demands, replacing “necessary changes” to the proposed electricity amendment bill with a call to withdraw it completely.
In a letter to the government, while formally accepting their invitation for the seventh round of talks, the 40 unions that agitated on Tuesday claimed that their previous position on the electricity bill was due to a “mistake.”
The communication puzzled the officials of the Ministry of Agriculture, who saw it as an example of changes in the goalposts, which made it difficult to resolve the confrontation. If the latest talks do not result in any progress, both the Center and the unions seem ready to sit down.
The Minister of Agriculture, Narendra Singh Tomar, and the Minister of Railways, Food and Consumer Affairs, Piyush Goyal, met with the Minister of the Interior, Amit Shah. They are known to have discussed the government’s strategy for the talks.
Although sources claimed that the ministers’ group meeting was intended for a routine debate on issues of prices and availability of essential commodities, both Tomar and Goyal will attend the agricultural talks on Wednesday. So far, the two sides have held six meetings, including the last one on December 8, with Shah’s attendance.
Although the Electricity Bill (Amendment) had not been a major sticking point with the Center ready to consider changes, the call for its withdrawal makes it a more complicated issue.
The Center had invited the unions to dialogue on Monday, saying the Agriculture Ministry is committed to finding “logical solutions to relevant issues” that can be acceptable to all. In response, the unions wrote on Tuesday that talks must be held on their four specific agenda items in a certain order to find solutions.
Agenda items include “modalities to repeal” the three core agricultural laws, a mechanism to ensure a “legal guarantee” to a higher MSP, keep farmers out of the scope of the sanctions provision for stubble burning and now a mechanism to “withdraw” the electricity amendment bill. to protect the “interests of farmers”.
“Peasant organizations have once again asked the government to focus on the demands raised instead of reacting to any imaginary demand. Discussions should take place in the sequence established in your two letters (December 26 and December 29), ”said Avik Saha, national coordinator of Jai Kisan Andolan and general secretary of the coordinating body of agricultural groups, AIKSCC.
When asked about the change in the context of the fourth lawsuit related to the Electricity Bill (Amendment) in Tuesday’s letter, Saha told TOI that the unions simply clarified the position they held for a long time.

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