Farmers Protest: Farmers Unions Reject Government Appeal to Suggest Repeal Alternative | India News
Farmers sit at a protest against new agricultural laws on the Singhu border in New Delhi on Thursday. (ANI photo)
NEW DELHI: A day after talks on the new farm laws made some progress, farm unions said Thursday that the Center’s call for them to suggest an alternative to repealing the laws was not viable.
“Unless the laws are removed, there is no room to discuss farmer-friendly changes in mandi and processes to ensure doubling of farmers’ incomes,” said AIKSCC, the coordinating body for the unions. They urged the Center to “stop being rigid and not engage in semantics.”
It appears to be a posturing exercise on the part of farmers ahead of the next round of talks on January 4, where the main sticking points are up for discussion.
Thursday’s comments came after union representatives met on the outcome of Wednesday’s talks. Although they called the government’s agreement ‘in principle’ with two demands – shelving the electricity amendment bill and eliminating penalties for stubble burning – a “great victory,” they said their mobilization would continue.
The progress of the talks marks a new concession by the Center, but only on matters on which it has shown itself willing to modify its position. The government has sought to keep unions engaged and has evaded the higher bar that unions have set from time to time.
Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, during Wednesday’s talks, urged unions to suggest any alternative to repealing the farm laws and also insisted on having a committee that can examine the “constitutional validity” of the demand.
“The government is cornering itself unnecessarily by widening the trust deficit as it continues to uphold the laws in an intensified public relations effort and is continually trying to discredit the farmers’ movement in many ways. This shouldn’t be like that, ”Kavitha Kuruganti of Mahila Kisan Adhikar Manch told TOI.
Reflecting the mood of farmers’ representatives, Kuruganti, a member of the umbrella body’s working group and the only representative of women farmers in the group of 41 who attended the talks, said: “The first requirement is the reduction of this posture, so that this does not become a matter of prestige. The government is not dealing with political adversaries, but with most of the Indian society and economy. ”