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Govt to Soon Hold Next Round of Talks with Protesting Farmers to End Stalemate: Union Minister

Farmers shout slogans at Singhu border during their 'Delhi Chalo' protest march against the Centre's new farm laws. (PTI photo)

Farmers shout slogans at Singhu border during their 'Delhi Chalo' protest march against the Centre's new farm laws. (PTI photo)

The sixth round of talks did not take place after farmer leaders rejected the government's draft proposal to amend certain provisions of the farm laws and declined to participate in the meeting.

As farmers intensify their protest against the Centre's three agri laws, Union Minister Kailash Choudhary on Sunday said the government will soon decide a date and call union leaders for the next round of talks. Previous five rounds of talks between the central government and representatives of 40 farmer unions remained inconclusive.

The sixth round of talks did not take place after farmer leaders rejected the government's draft proposal to amend certain provisions of the farm laws and declined to participate in the meeting. The government has made it clear that it is ready for discussion anytime. But the farmer unions have said they would come for talks only if the laws are repealed.

Asked when the government will hold the next round of meeting, Chaudhary told PTI, "The meeting will be called soon. We are ready for discussion. But the date has not been finalised." The government will find "some solution" to end the deadlock. "We have full confidence. In the next meeting, the issue will be resolved," he noted. Chaudhary, the Minister of State for Agriculture, said senior ministers Amit Shah and Narendra Singh Tomar are holding discussions on the issue.

Farmers, especially from Punjab and Haryana, have been protesting at Delhi borders against the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020. Enacted in September, the three farm laws have been projected by the central government as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove the middlemen and allow farmers to sell anywhere in the country.

However, the protesting farmers have expressed apprehension that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of Minimum Support Price and do away with the mandis, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates.

first published:December 13, 2020, 21:48 IST
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