New Delhi: The Modi government and the farmers protesting against the farm laws held a marathon 7.5-hour meeting Thursday but a resolution remained elusive. With the farmers rejecting the government’s offer of amendments to the laws, insisting that they be repealed, the two sides will meet again Saturday for a further round of talks.
The talks involved the representatives of 42 farmer organisations — the 31 unions from Punjab and Haryana that have been spearheading the protests under the banner of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) and others from Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Kerala, among other states, that have since joined in. The government was represented by Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Railway & Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal, and Minister of State for Commerce Som Parkash.
Tomar said after the talks that the government will resolve any issue that comes up during the discussions and requested the farmers to end their agitation.
The govt is holding talks & the issue that will come up during discussion will definitely reach to a solution. That is why I appeal to farmers to end their agitation so that people of Delhi don't face problems that they are facing due to protests: Agriculture Minister NS Tomar pic.twitter.com/Z7lWYRSllF
— ANI (@ANI) December 3, 2020
The farmers have, however, vowed to continue their protest.
“We will hold a meeting and so will they. We have also agreed to meet on Saturday. Till then we will continue our agitation,” Gurnam Singh, chief of the Haryana Bharatiya Kisan Union, said.
Also read: What Modi govt can do to placate angry farmers and end their protests
The meeting Thursday marked the fourth round of talks between the farmers and the central government since the protests erupted in September.
At the third round Tuesday, the government had asked the farmer unions to submit a detailed account of their objections to the laws in writing. The farmers said they turned in a 10-page document with a clause-by-clause elucidation of their objections.
“We gave them a list of our objections. They considered it and said we are prepared to make amendments. But we said amendments are not acceptable. The laws must be repealed,” said Jagmohan Singh Patiala, general secretary of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Dakaunda).
Farmers said introducing amendments will not help as the laws are “problematic in their entirety”. “If a law goes wrong in its objective, then all clauses will be wrong. That’s why we don’t want any amendments. We want them repealed,” said Kavita Kuruganti, Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Sangharsh Samiti.
One of the main points of contention remains the MSP. The farmers have been apprehensive that the farm laws will dilute the Minimum Support Price (MSP) they are assured on certain crops — the laws, they say, will corporatise farming, which will deprive them of fair prices for their produce.
They want the government to make MSP a legal right.
“They said MSP will continue but we want a law. We will continue our agitation till they bring in a law on MSP,” said Gurnam Singh.
The Modi government, however, has insisted throughout that the farm laws will not interfere with the MSP framework. Tomar again said Thursday that the “MSP system” will continue and “will not be touched”. The government has also denied the charge that the laws will open the doors to corporatisation of the farm sector.
The farmers said the government had offered to make several amendments to the laws to address their objections. “They have said that they will make APMC system stronger, they have also said that they will look into the grievance mechanism so that it’s not the district collector but the judiciary that looks into it. But we are not interested in amendments,” said AIKSCC member Hannan Mollah.
Both sides will hold talks at their respective ends before re-convening Saturday.
Before the meeting, Tomar met Union Home Minister Amit Shah at his residence. Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh also met Shah to request that the government “listen to the farmers with an open mind”.
Today I met Union Home Minister @AmitShah Ji and reiterated the need to protect MSP & continue with the APMC based mandi system. Requested him to listen to the farmers with an open mind & quickly resolve the standoff.
— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) December 3, 2020
Also Read: APMC safeguards, simple complaint process — what govt could offer farmers at talks tomorrow
Farmers demand sound legitimate while there is absolutely nothing which said laws impede their concerns or even provoke in any manner.
Media should stop romanticizing such protests as I can see completely chaotic country if people start blackmailing when they have been responded. Nevertheless everyone must respect law of land.
Comments are closed.