Meeting adjourned, farmers to meet Agriculture and Railway ministers on December 3
Government proposed formation of a committee to discuss contentious provisions of the farm laws with protesting farmers
Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar teamed up with colleague Union Railway’s Minister Piyush Goyal, and met the selected representatives of the lakhs of farmers on December 1. However, the farmers will now have to return on December 3, for another round of meetings with the two ministers!
According to a report by News18, Chanda Singh, one of the farmers leaders, who was at the meeting with the ministers, and other government officials confirmed that the talks will continue, as will the massive Farmers Protest. “We discussed a lot of issues. We will have a meeting day after tomorrow. We will continue with our protests,” Singh was quoted after the December 1 meeting that took place after a six-day deadlock between the government and the farmers.
However, it is not yet known what details were discussed or why another round cannot be held on December 2? What is it about December 3, that the Agriculture minister had also proposed this as the original meeting date a few days ago? News 18 has quoted sources revealing that “the government has proposed the formation of a committee to discuss contentious provisions of the new farm laws with protesting farmers”. As the farmer-government meeting is yet to reach a final conclusion it is not yet known who will be a part of this committee and what is its mandate. The news report states that the union ministers have “asked farmer union leaders to nominate members to be part of the proposed committee which will also include agricultural experts and government representatives.”
For now, the leaders return to join the many thousand farmers from Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh, who continue to brave the cold wave conditions at Singhu and Tikri borders where they have camped since November 26. The farmers have so far been firm on their demand for a complete withdrawal of new farm laws and want a guarantee of minimum support price.
The meeting on December 1 was close on the heels of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech which seemed to be in support of the laws passed and so far it seems that the government is unlikely to roll back: The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said then that the “new agricultural reforms have given farmers new options and new legal protection and the old system will also continue if someone chooses to stay with it.” The PM said the criticism seen now “is based on mere apprehensions” adding that “confusion is being spread in society about what has not happened yet, which will never happen” adding that “a very meager MSP purchase used to take place. This deception went on for years. Large loan waiver packages were announced in the name of farmers, but they did not reach the small and marginal farmers.” He accused previous governments of “deceit in the name of schemes” he says were launched in the names of farmers. This “deception” he said has made the farmers “ apprehensive about the promises of governments”, he accused the Opposition of spreading “lies”.
Courtesy : Sabrang