After farmer organisations from Punjab boycotted a meeting on new farm laws due to minister’s absence, the union agriculture ministry on Wednesday said the meeting was actually scheduled at secretary level, asserting that the government is always committed to protect the interest of farmers and open for discussions. In a statement, the ministry clarified that the meeting of representatives of 29 farmer unions from Punjab, which were associated with agitations in the state during last few days, was scheduled to be held at Agriculture Secretary level.
“The government has always been serious about agriculture. The Centre invited29 farmer unions from Punjab, which were protesting in last few days, for discussion. The meeting was scheduled at Agriculture Secretary level," Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar tweeted. Asserting that agriculture is always on top priority for the central government, the ministry said: “The Government of India is always committed to protect the interest of farmers and is always open for discussions." “In this meeting, various issues related to farmers’ welfare were discussed for about two hours," the ministry said.
At the end of the meeting, two memorandums on behalf of the farmer unions were submitted to Secretary Sanjay Agrawal, it added. After the meeting, farmer representatives told reporters thatthey boycotted the meeting as there was no minister present to hear them out. They protested outside Krishi Bhavan and tore copies of new farm laws.