Farmers’ stir: Govt invites 40 unions for next round of talks on 30 Dec

NEW DELHI, 28 Dec: The government on Monday invited 40 protesting farmer unions for the next round of talks on 30 December on all relevant issues to find a “logical solution” to the current impasse over the farm laws.

The government’s invite followed a proposal made by unions last week to hold the talks on Tuesday, 29 December, on agenda including modalities for the repeal of the three laws enacted in September.

In a letter to the unions, Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Aggarwal has invited them for holding talks at 2 pm on Wednesday at Vigyan Bhavan in the national capital. The last formal meeting took place on 5 December, in which union leaders had demanded a clear ‘yes or no’ answer from the government on their main demand of the repeal of the three laws.

Taking note of the unions’ offer to resume talks, Aggarwal said, “The government is also committed to finding a logical solution on all relevant issues with a clear intention and an open mind.”

With regard to the proposed agenda by the unions for the meeting, the secretary said a detailed discussion will take place on three farm laws, MSP procurement system, as well as the electricity amendment bill and the ordinance to tackle air pollution in and around Delhi/NCR.

However, the government letter did not make any specific reference to one key condition proposed by the unions seeking talks on modalities for the repeal of the acts.

So far, five rounds of formal talks held between the Centre and 40 protesting farmer unions remained inconclusive. The last round of talks was held on 5 December, while the sixth round of talks originally scheduled for 9 December was called off a day after an informal meeting of Home Minister Amit Shah with some union leaders failed to reach any breakthrough.

The government had, however, followed up Shah’s meeting with a draft proposal sent to the unions in which it had suggested 7-8 amendments to the new laws and written assurance on the MSP procurement system.

In its 26 December letter written to the government, farmer unions gave 29 December for the resumption of talks and made it clear that

┬áthe modalities for the repeal of three farm laws and guarantee for MSP – minimum support price at which the government procures crops from farmers – should be part of the agenda for resuming talks with the government.

The date given by the government for the next round of talks is the same day when unions have also decided to hold a tractor march from Singhu border and Tikri border to the Kundli-Manesar-Palwal (KMP) highway.

It’s been over a month now that thousands of farmers, especially from Punjab, Haryana and parts of Uttar Pradesh, are camping at Delhi borders seeking repeal of the three farm laws. They have threatened to intensify their stir in the coming days if their demands are not fulfilled. (PTI)