The Centre on Thursday again reached out to the farmers protesting against the three agricultural laws near Delhi, asking them to set the date and time for the next round of talks to resolve the standoff.
The government told the farmers that it was committed to reaching a logical solution to their concerns. “It is important for the government to keep the door of dialogue with the farmers open,” the letter signed by Agriculture Ministry Joint Secretary Vivek Aggarwal read. “It is the government’s duty to listen to all the groups.”
The Centre again sought to assure farmers that the agricultural laws would have no impact on the minimum support price. “The government is ready to give a written assurance that minimum support price will continue,” the letter added. “The Centre is ready to address all objections related to the farm laws.”
The government said that it had been speaking to the farmers respectfully and with an open mind. “The Centre is ready to end the farmers’ protest with clear intentions,” it said. “Please tell the government the date and time for the next round of talks. The meeting will be arranged at Vigyan Bhavan in Delhi on that date.”
The government’s latest outreach came a day after the Samyukt Kisan Morcha, a joint front of farmer unions, rejected its offer of talks. The farmers’ group asserted that it was seeking the revocation of the legislations and wanted a concrete proposal to resolve the crisis.
Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar had on Wednesday said that the Centre was ready for a fresh round of discussions with farmers, adding that the protestors should tell the government what they wanted to “add and subtract” from its proposal related to the agricultural laws.
Tens of thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, have been protesting at key entry points to Delhi for 29 straight days against the laws now, withstanding temperatures dropping to two to three degrees Celsius. Meanwhile, around 20,000 members of the Kisan Sena decided to March from western Uttar Pradesh to Delhi to support the farm laws.
On December 9, the protesting farmers had rejected the Centre’s last written proposal, detailing the amendments it was willing to make to the three agriculture laws. The farmers and the Centre have held several round of talks to end the crisis but there has been little progress so far.