A Supreme Court-appointed committee to resolve the deadlock between protesting farmers and the government over the three contentious farm laws has submitted its report, NDTV reported on Wednesday.
“The report was submitted on March 19,” committee member Anil Ghanwat told NDTV. He, however, did not reveal details of the report as it was a “confidential process”.
Ghanwat told The Hindu that the report, which was submitted in a sealed cover, will be made public on the next date of hearing of the case. The Supreme Court will hear the matter on April 5, according to the Hindustan Times.
After several rounds of talks between the farmer unions and the Centre had failed to reach an agreement, the Supreme Court had formed the four-member expert committee in January. The court had also suspended the implementation of the laws and tasked the committee to speak with unions and other various stakeholders to assess the impact of the three laws.
All India Kisan Coordination Committee chief Bhupinder Singh Mann, Director for South Asia of International Food Policy Research Institute Pramod Joshi, agricultural economist Ashok Gulati and Maharashtra Shetkari Sangathna member Anil Ghanwat were named as the members of the committee.
The panel held total 12 rounds of consultations with various stakeholders, including farmers groups, farmer producers organisations, procurement agencies, professionals, academicians, private as well as state agriculture marketing boards, according to PTI. It also conducted nine internal meetings before finalising the report.
The farmers had refused to hold talks with the panel, claiming that the committee supported the farm laws and was “pro-government”. On January 14, one of the members of the committee, Bhupinder Singh Mann, had recused himself from panel. He had said that he did not want to compromise the interests of Punjab and farmers of the country.
After this, the Supreme Court said it was disappointed by the “unnecessary aspersions” cast on the expert panel.
Thousands of farmers have camped outside Delhi since November, demanding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi repeal the three laws that open up the country’s agriculture markets to private companies. Farmers fear the policies will make them vulnerable to corporate exploitation and would dismantle the minimum support price regime.
The farmers have hunkered down with supplies that they say will last them for months, and have resolved to not leave until their demands are met.
The movement poses one of the biggest challenges to Modi since he took power in 2014, as he faces criticism from all sides, including from some allies of the Bharatiya Janata Party. The Shiromani Akali Dal of Punjab quit the ruling National Democratic Alliance at the Centre in September itself.
Another sign of impact was the Congress’ spectacular performance in the Punjab urban body polls held in February.