Farmer unions protesting against the new agriculture laws are expected to hold a meeting among themselves on Saturday to decide on the Centre’s invitation for resuming talks on the matter, PTI reported. The farmers held a meeting on Friday as well, where some of them indicated that they were willing to resume the dialogue.
“We have another meeting tomorrow [Saturday] to take a decision on the Centre’s letter,” one of the farmer leaders told PTI, refusing to be identified. “In this meeting, we may decide to resume talks with the government as it appears through its previous letters that it has not been able to understand our issues so far.”
On Thursday, the Centre had written to the farmers, extending an invitation for talks and reiterated its commitment to a logical solution to all the concerns raised by the farmer groups. The Sanyukt Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of 40 farmer unions, had however, termed the Centre’s letter as propaganda.
The protestors are yet to be convinced with the government’s assurance that the Minimum Support Price regime will not be done away with after the implementation of the new laws.
“MSP cannot be separated from our demand of repealing these three laws,” a farmer leader told PTI. “In these laws, there is mention about private mandis. Who will ensure that our crop is sold at fixed MSP if it is not mentioned?”
Meanwhile, the farmers have also maintained that they were prepared for a long struggle, if the government does not give in to their demands, reported The Indian Express.
“Time and again, they asked us for our proposals,” Gurnam Singh Chaduni, President of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Haryana), told the newspaper. “But they are yet to give us any concrete proposal. Had their intentions been good, they would not have made these laws. Now what is the point of talking of amendments. We will not budge until we win.”
Farm laws protest
The negotiations between farmers’ groups and the Centre has not progressed since the last meeting, scheduled to be held on December 9, was cancelled. Tens of thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, have been protesting at key entry points to Delhi for 30 straight days against the laws now, withstanding temperatures dropping to two to three degrees Celsius.
The farmers fear the agricultural reforms will weaken the minimum support price mechanism under which the government buys agricultural produce, will lead to the deregulation of crop-pricing, deny them fair remuneration for their produce and leave them at the mercy of corporations.
The government, on the other hand, maintains that the new laws will give farmers more options in selling their produce, lead to better pricing, and free them from unfair monopolies. The law passed in September are meant to overhaul antiquated procurement procedures and open up the market, the government has claimed.