Govt talks with farmers end with no breakthrough
December 03 2020 11:11 PM
farmers protest
Delhi police and security personnel stand guard as farmers continue to protest against the central government’s recent agricultural reforms at the Delhi-Haryana state border in Singhu yesterday.

IANS/New Delhi

The over seven-hour long talks between the representatives of the farmers’ bodies and the government ended without any breakthrough yesterday and the next round of talks has been scheduled for December 5. As per sources, the farmers have given their suggestions to the government in writing.
Earlier in the day, a group of more than 34 farmer leaders put out a five-point set of demands that seeks to frame a specific law on minimum support price (MSP) and end the punishment provision for stubble burning, during the fourth round of talks with the Central government yesterday.
In the written five-point set of demands, one of the key demands is repealing the three contentious farm laws passed in September during the monsoon session of the parliament. It also raised objections about the upcoming Electricity (Amendment) Act, 2020.
The farmers emphasised that the provision to register a case for stubble burning should be ended, and asked why the government wasn’t ready to give them “written assurance” on MSP despite its earlier statements that MSP will continue.
The farmer union representatives emphasised that a new law on MSP be framed in a special session of Parliament, demanding that it must guarantee them MSP not only now but in the future as well.
The farmer leaders said: “Let us assume that MSP will continue but the procurement would stop. The MSP will have no meaning then”.
The farmer union representatives said that the government claims the three farm laws were brought in with the the interests of farmers in mind. However, the laws have been passed to benefit big business and corporate houses, they said.
Giving an example of sugarcane procurement, the farmers’ organisations objected to contract farming and pointed out its drawbacks.
The five-point set of demands came yesterday after the meeting at Vigyan Bhawan in presence of the Centre’s representatives: Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Minister Piyush Goyal.
The Bharatiya Kisan Union, the Bharatiya Kisan Sanyukta Morcha and the Krantikari Kisan Union are among the more than 34 farm union representatives who put the demand before the Centre to call a special session of parliament and frame a law on MSP.
The farm unions were also reportedly adamant on demanding the government repeal its three farm laws enacted in September.
They have also put some other demands on behalf of thousands of farmers owing allegiance to these organisations, huddled under the open sky in the cold winter, refusing to budge until their demands are met.
The meeting, which is expected to play a major role in farmers’ future course of action on whether they would continue the protest or withdraw it, is crucial as many of the farmers’ demands would lead to new challenges for the government whose focus is to end the farmers’ agitation going on since November 26.
Thousands of protesters have blocked five Delhi borders connecting Chandigarh, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh crippling the chain of supply to the national capital.
The meeting is also being attended by Union Minister of State for Commerce Som Prakash and agriculture secretary Sanjay Agarwal.
The Singhu and Tikri borders, as well as Chilla and Ghazipur borders have now been hosting these multitudes for over a week.
Hundreds of farmers have almost blocked entry and exit out of the national capital.
The fourth round of meetings with the farmer leaders started at Vigyan Bhawan after the earlier talks remained inconclusive on December 1.
In the last meeting, the farmers’ representatives had unanimously turned down the centre’s proposal of a special committee to thrash out the differences and resolve concerns over the farm laws.
A breakthrough was not expected in a single meeting, sources had said, in view of the government firmly standing by the laws it has called “historic reforms” in the farm sector.
The farmers though have hardened their stance, warning that if this “the last chance” for the government to take a decision on the laws, was not accepted, the stir could intensify further.
In place of a committee, they have demanded a special session of parliament to repeal what they have called “black laws” made to favour corporate houses.

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