The Centre on Monday invited farmer unions for the next round of talks on the three contentious agriculture laws on December 30, ANI reported. The meeting will be held at 2 pm at Vigyan Bhawan in the national Capital.
In a letter addressed to representatives of 40 farmer bodies, the agriculture ministry said that the Centre was ready to discuss and resolve the deadlock on the farm laws with an “open mind and clear conscience”.
On Saturday, the unions had accepted the government’s proposal to resume talks and had asked the talks to be held on December 29. This was after the Centre had written to the farmers on Thursday, 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 propaganda.
Meanwhile, Darshan Pal, president of Krantikari Kisan Union had said on Saturday that farmers will hold a tractor march from Singhu border on December 30 to protest against the legislations. He also said that toll plazas in Punjab and Haryana remain permanently open. The unions have not yet said if there was a change in plans for the march, following the government’s invitation.
Five rounds of talks between the two sides have so far failed to yield a result, with the unions adamant on the repeal of the three laws, while the Centre was willing only to make changes in the laws.
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 over a month 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.