The government said on Monday that the seventh round of talks with the farmers remained inconclusive because the protesters were adamant over withdrawal of the three farm laws. Union agriculture minister Narendra Tomar said that he is “hopeful” that a conclusion will be found in the next round of talks which will be held on January 8.
“We wanted farmer unions to discuss three laws clause-wise. We could not reach any solution as farmer unions remained adamant on the repeal of the laws,” the minister told reporters after the meeting at Vigyan Bhawan in Delhi.
“Looking at today’s discussion, I hope that we will have a meaningful discussion during our next meeting and we will come to a conclusion,” he added. The minister also asserted that efforts need to be made from both sides for a solution to be reached. “Taali dono haathon se bajti hai (both hands are needed to clap).”
Meanwhile, farmers said that they will not back down until the government withdraws the three laws and gives them a legal guarantee over the MSP (minimum support price) system for procurement of their crops. “Discussion took place on our demands – repeal of the three laws and MSP… kanoon wapasi nahi, to ghar wapasi nahi (We will not go home until the laws are withdrawn),” news agency ANI quoted Rakesh Tikait, spokesperson of Bharatiya Kisan Union, as saying.
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Farmers have been protesting at the gates of Delhi since November 26 last year against the newly enacted farm laws – Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance, and Farm Services Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
Now, the next round of talks will take place on January 8 at 2 pm. The leaders of the farm unions will have their own meeting on Tuesday to decide their next course of action.
Thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, are protesting at Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur border points of Delhi demanding the repeal of the three laws passed in September. They have stayed put despite heavy rains and water-logging at protest sites over the last couple of days, besides severe cold weather conditions prevailing in and around the national capital.
Last month, the government had sent a draft proposal to the protesting farmer unions, suggesting some amendments to the new laws and a written assurance on the MSP procurement system. The government has ruled out a repeal of the three agriculture laws.