All eyes on farmer union talks today

Chennai: All eyes are on today’s round of talks between the Centre and protesting farmer unions.

It is said that the farmers are sticking to their hardline position that the parleys will only be on the modalities of repealing the three new agri laws and giving a legal guarantee on the MSP among other issues.

Ahead of the crucial sixth round of talks after a three-week hiatus, Union Ministers Narendra Singh Tomar and Piyush Goyal on Tuesday met senior BJP leader and Home Minister Amit Shah. Sources said they discussed and finalised the government’s position for the meeting.

The Centre on Monday invited the 40 protesting farmer unions for the next round of talks on December 30 on all relevant issues to find a ‘logical solution’ with ‘open mind’ to the prolonged impasse over the three new agri laws that was enacted in September.

But in its letter on Tuesday, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha, the umbrella organisation which represents the farmer unions, said the modalities for repealing the three contentious laws and a legal guarantee on minimum support price (MSP) must be part of the agenda.

The Morcha further said the agenda should also include amendments to be made and notified in the Commission for the Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Ordinance, 2020 to exclude farmers from its penal provisions.

The letter also stated that withdrawal of the Electricity Amendment Bill 2020 to protect the interests of farmers should also be part of the agenda.

In a letter to the farmer unions, Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Aggarwal on Monday invited them for the talks at 2 pm on Wednesday at Vigyan Bhavan in the national capital.

In the latest letter, the Morcha pointed out that in its 26 December communication to the government, it had mentioned ‘changes’ by mistake instead of ‘withdrawal’ in the Electricity Amendment Bill 2020.

Farmer unions also deferred to Thursday their proposed tractor march against the contentious agriculture laws, so that the rally does not clash with their talks with the government.

Thousands of protesting farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, have been camping at three Delhi border points, Singhu, Ghazipur and Tikri, for the past 31 days, demanding a repeal of the three farm laws and legal guarantee for MSP.

 

NT Bureau