Amid massive protests for the third consecutive day by farmers heading to the national capital, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Saturday said the Centre is ready for talks with them anytime as he appealed to farmers to call off their agitation and come for discussion. While a meeting with 32 protesting farmer unions has already been scheduled on December 3 to resolve their concerns, the government is ready to engage the farmer unions' leaders before that if they wish, he said.
While the government has maintained that the three new farm laws have been enacted for the benefit of farmers, protesting farmers fear that it might dismantle procurement at minimum support price (MSP) and corporatise farming. Speaking to PTI, Tomar said, "The Government of India is in continuous discussion with farmers. Therefore, we invited the farmer union leaders for the second round of talks on December 3. If farmers wish, we are ready for discussion before that (December 3)." Appealing to farmers to end the protest, the minister said farmer unions' leaders should come for talks because solutions can be found only after the discussion.
"Farmers should end the protest and come for discussion. The Government of India is fully ready for the discussion. If farmer unions' send their proposal, we are ready to consider that," he added. Tomar also said, "Farmers are our own people. The Agriculture Ministry is working for the welfare of farmers." On Saturday, shouting slogans, singing songs and carrying flags in reds, greens and blues, about 400 farmers from various groups and states gathered at north Delhi's Burari ground where the government had allowed them to hold a peaceful protest against the new farm laws.
However, thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh are still sitting out at various border points into Delhi for the third consecutive day. Those who made their way into the National Capital gathered at the Nirankari ground, one of the largest in the city.