The second round of talks between the Centre and representatives of farmers’ union on Thursday concluded in yet another stalemate even as protests against the three newly-passed agriculture laws entered its eighth day. The next round of talks will now be held on December 5, reported PTI.
However at the end of Thursday’s talks, one of the farmer leaders expressed hope that the matter will be “finalised” in the next meeting, while the government said that it has “no ego” and was dealing with the matter with “an open mind”.
The meeting, which went on for more than seven hours, was held in two halves. The farmers gave a presentation on their apprehensions about the new laws in the first half, while the government represented by Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, his Cabinet colleague Piyush Goyal and junior minister Som Parkash, presented their version in the second half, reported NDTV.
Speaking to media after the meeting, Tomar reiterated the government’s assurance that the Minimum Support Price regime will not be be done away with under the new laws. Noting that the farmers have concerns that the mandis [wholesale markets] will come under threat, he said the government will contemplate measures to address the matter.
“New laws lay down provision for private mandis outside purview of APMC [Agricultural Produce Market Committee],” Tomar said. “We will also contemplate about having an equal tax for private as well as mandis under APMC Act.”
He further said that the government will consider the farmers’ grievance against the new provision of their matters being under the ambit of sub-divisional magistrate’s court, which is a lower court, will also be addressed. Tomar once again urged the farmers to call off their agitation at various borders of the national Capital.
Meanwhile, Som Parkash said that points of discussion have been prepared, on which talks will be held on December 5.
Will be finalised in next meeting, say farmers
Meanwhile, representatives of the farmers remained adamant on their demand of repealing the three laws, even as they expressed hope that the talks would be concluded on Saturday.
“Government has given indications over MSP [Minimum Support Price], it seems that their stand will be fine, Rakesh Tikait, spokesperson of Bharatiya Kisan Union, said after the meeting. He, however, maintained that the “issue is about complete roll back of laws”.
Harjinder Singh Tanda of Azaad Kisan Sangharsh Committee said that “little progress” has been made. “In the half time it seemed that today’s meeting will yield no result, but in second half it seemed that there is pressure on government,” Tanda said, according to ANI. “The laws are wrong. In the next meeting, we will put pressure on the government. In my opinion, it will be finalised in the meeting day after tomorrow.”
Meanwhile, the farmers’ representatives refused the lunch and tea offered by the government during the meeting, reported NDTV. “They offered us food, we denied and are having our langar, which we have brought with us,” a farmer leader said.
Congress seeks winter session
In a letter to Speaker Om Birla, Congress’ Leader of Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury asked for a short winter session. Apart from the farmers’ agitation, he also mentioned the coronavirus situation, economic slowdown, unemployment and the border standoff with China in his letter.