New Delhi: On behalf of thousands of farmers protesting against Centre’s three controversial farm laws, farmer union leaders and the central government will hold the tenth round of talks on Wednesday to resolve all issues, including the continuance of the MSP system.
The central government had earlier postponed the 10th round of scheduled talks with the protesting farmers` representatives to January 20. Today’s meeting will be held at the Vigyan Bhavan at 2 PM.
After the Centre earlier postponed the 10th round of scheduled talks with the representative of protesting farmer unions, demonstrators on the Singhu and Ghazipur borders reiterated that they are here to stay till laws are repealed and said a day`s delay does not affect them.
At the Ghazipur border, Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) spokesperson, Rakesh Tikait said the postponement of the meeting for a day is not going to make any difference as farmers will not leave the borders till the three laws are repealed.
“It does not matter that the meeting is delayed. We are here to stay till our demands are acknowledged and laws are repealed. We hope that matter will be resolved through dialogue,” he said.
Asked about the meeting of the Supreme Court`s Committee on farm laws, Tikait said the farmers did not approach the apex court and they have nothing to do with it.
“We don`t know, we`re not going (to the first meeting of Supreme Court`s committee). Nobody from the agitation approached the Supreme Court. The government brought laws through Ordinance. They were tabled in the House. They should be repealed through the same route they came from,” he said.
Farmers protesting at Singhu border echoed Tikait`s sentiments and said they will not vacate the borders till laws are repealed. Gurdayal Singh, a farmer from Punjab`s Patiala district said he is protesting on Singhu border for nearly two months and will only go back after the laws are repealed.
“The sweet (laws) that the government has prepared for us, we don`t want to eat it, then why are they forcing us to eat it. We will only go back after laws are repealed,” he said.
Another farmer Parpur Singh said the government should move beyond talks and take a decision on farmers` demand. “I want to request the government with folded hands move beyond the meetings and talks and give us a clear decision on what we want. They should not delay the matter and give us a clear decision and repeal the laws,” he said.
On the other hand, the first meeting of the Committee appointed by the Supreme Court to deliberate with concerned stakeholders on recently notified three farm laws, was held on Tuesday. According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Dr Ashok Gulati, former Chairman of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices, Anil Ghanwat, president, Shetkari Sanghatana and Dr Pramod Joshi, former director for South Asia, International Food Policy Research Institute participated in the meeting and discussed the roadmap of activities for the Committee for two months to prepare their recommendations after discussion with farmers, farmers` bodies, farmers` unions, and other stakeholders.
As the ninth round of talks between the central government and farmer unions on January 15 had remained inconclusive, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar had said the unions have been asked to form informal groups among themselves and submit a draft to the government regarding their demands.
On January 12, the Supreme Court stayed the implementation of the Centre`s three farm laws and asked the committee formed by it concerning the laws to submit its report within two months.
The committee has been directed to hold a dialogue with farmers and submit its recommendations pertaining to the farm laws within two months from the date of its first sitting. However, the leaders of farmers` unions rejected the committee, saying their members were already in favour of the farm laws.
Farmers have been protesting on the different borders of the national capital since November 26 against the three 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.