There can be a way out for the next round of talks between the government and farmer unions protesting against the Centre's new farm laws in a day or two, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said after meeting Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Saturday. This is the second time the Haryana chief minister met Tomar at his residence since the protests broke out over three weeks ago, a state government official said, adding that he had met the Union minister earlier on December 8.
"In a day or two, there can be a way out for talks. The government is ready for discussion if farmer union leaders come forward beyond yes or no," Khattar was quoted as saying in a Haryana government statement. The chief minister said he discussed with Tomar about the ongoing farmer protests. "Effort is to find solutions through dialogue," he said.
The government can think of changes to the farm laws more than what it has done, he added. On the Sutlej Yamuna Link Canal dispute, Khattar urged Punjab's farmers to take the issue seriously. He said crops in Punjab get damaged due to excess water and therefore this issue need to be resolved. The meeting comes a day after BJP leader and former Union minister Chaudhary Birender Singh joined a protest in support of the farmers at Haryana's Rohtak.
The dharna was organised by the members of the Sir Chhotu Ram Manch. Singh is the grandson of Sir Chhotu Ram, a prominent Jat leader of the pre-independence era who championed the interests of farmers. Farmers from different parts of the country, including Haryana and Punjab, have been camping at various border points of Delhi for three weeks to demand a repeal of three recent farm laws.
They worry that these laws will eliminate the safety net of the minimum support price (MSP), do away with the "mandi" (wholesale market) system and leave them at the "mercy of big corporates", apprehensions the government has been insisting are misplaced.