Farmers’ protest: Consensus on two issues, says Tomar; next meeting on January 4
After the sixth round of talks with the protesting farmers’ unions on Wednesday, Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar said consensus has been reached on two issues out of four. The next meeting will be held on January 4, the minister said. The minister also said that the talks were held in a good environment and ended with a positive note. This meeting came after a long gap as after the last meeting the situation hit a dead end with farmers being stern on their demand for a complete withdrawal of the laws and the Centre on not accepting it. The meeting started around 2pm and went on for over four hours. Though there was no definite answer to farmers demands, the environment on Wednesday was amicable as the leaders mingled with the central representatives during lunch and evening snack time.
Here are the major takeaways from the meeting:
Breaking bread, if not ice: Farmer union leaders so far refused food offered at Vigyan Bhawan as they have always arranged for their food cooked at langar. On Wednesday, as they were having their langar food, Union ministers Narendra Singh Tomar and Piyush Goyal joined them. The union leaders too, in the evening, accepted the beverage offered by the government during the tea break.
‘Govt will withdraw electricity amendment bill’
Punjab Kisan Union state president Ruldu Singh Mansa said the government has offered to withdraw the electricity amendment bill and to amend the ordinance to remove the penal provision on farmers in stubble burning cases. “Farmers feel that if reform is introduced in the Electricity Act, they’ll suffer loss. Unions wanted that electricity subsidy given to farmers by states for irrigation should continue. The consensus was reached on this issue,” agriculture minister said.
Send women, children, elderly home: Minister’s request to farmers
Union minister Tomar requested the farmers several times to withdraw the protest as talks are going on. On Wednesday too, he requested the union leaders to send women, elderly and children back as they are suffering in the chilly weather in Delhi.
Offering prayers at Vigyan Bhawan
After the evening tea break, farmer leaders offered ‘ardaas’ (prayers) at the meeting venue before resuming the talks.
A committee to examine the laws
The ministers have proposed to set up a committee to examine the new farm laws. Earlier too, this was proposed but the farmers’ unions were stern that they want an immediate withdrawal of the laws. After today’s meeting as well, Balkaran Singh Brar, Punjab President,All India Kisan Sabha, said they won’t form any committee. The agitation will also not stop.
No consensus on MSP yet
The Centre has been reiterating that the system of minimum support price will remain. The Centre, in earlier meetings, agreed to give this in writing. But farmers want legal backing of MSP, to which the Centre has not yet agreed. “Discussion will continue on the legal aspect of MSP and other issues on January 4,” Tomar said.
(With Agency Inputs)
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