New Delhi: The over seven-hour-long fourth round of talks between agitating farmers and the Centre ended in a stalemate once again with the farmers firm on a “complete roll back” of the three laws and the proposed amendment to the electricity law, and the Centre, too, refusing to budge, but for some statements of assurance. The next round of talks is supposed to be held on December 5 at 2 .pm
Pratibha Shinde, AIKSCC (All India Kishan Sangharsh Coordination Committee) working group member and president of Lok Sangharsh Morcha, told PTI that: "Discussions are over from our side. Our leaders have said they will not attend further meetings if a solution is not given today by the government."
When asked about details of the meeting, AIKSCC General Secretary Hannan Mollah said the main demand of the unions was repeal of the three Acts and the government also listened to the 8-10 specific deficiencies pointed out by the farmer leaders.
"We do not want any amendment. We want the Acts to be repealed," he told PTI. He said all farmer organisations would meet on Friday at 11 a.m to take a collective call for the next round of talks with the government.
Another farmer leader Kulwant Singh Sandhu said the government made many proposals including on MSP and procurement system, which would be discussed among the farmer organisations on Friday, before the next meeting with the government on Saturday.
Initially, the Centre, did show some signs of blinking by agreeing to “bring in some amendments” to the farm laws in a bid to allay protesting farmers’ fears.
For instance, agriculture minister Narendra Sing Tomar told reporters after the meeting that the government was “ready to make a provision for registration of traders operating outside APMC mandis under new laws”.
In the marathon meeting, issues relating to the farm legislations were addressed in a clause-by-clause manner, along with discussions over minimum support price (MSP) and October’s ordinance that was brought in by Centre, which imposed a penalty and jail term for stubble burning, farm leaders told the media.
Darshan Pal of Krantikari Kisan Union told the media that the Centre was clearly under pressure due to the growing farmers’ protests. “We have already conveyed our conditions that include repealing of the four laws,” he said, adding that only then that the agitation will will be called off.
Farmers led by over 30 unions from Punjab and one prominent union from Haryana are currently sitting in protest in Delhi’s northern Singhu border, on the arterial GT Karnal highway, and at the Tikri border, near West Delhi’s Mundka village. The Ghazipur border connecting Uttar Pradesh with the national capital has also been partially sealed by the police to stop the marching farmers amassed there. More and more farmers from nearby states including Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh among others are joining as the days are going by.
Balwinder Singh Aulakh of Majha Kisan Committee told NewsClick that the Centre has “agreed to bring in some amendments,” to “some” of the clauses. “This shows some progress; in the days to come, we are hopeful that we will force the Centre to completely accept our demands,” he said, adding, “The delay in doing so will only harm the Centre, as we shall be intensifying our agitation.”
The Centre is discussing with farmers with an “open mind,” news agency ANI has quoted the Agriculture Minister, as saying after the meeting. As per his comments, the government has agreed to allow the farmers to take up legal matters in the contract farming to courts rather than to SDMs. He added that the Centre has also proposed for registration of a trader, who will be engaging in the trading of farm produce outside the purview of the APMC-controlled mandis.
An official press release from the Agriculture Ministry was, however, was not made public till the time of publishing this report.
Joginder Singh of Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ugrahan) told Newsclick that even though Centre maintains that it is ‘ready to address our grievances’ and ‘talking with us with an open mind’, the negotiations are not reaching any conclusions. “If that is so, then what’s the point of talking,” he added.
A meeting of the farmers’ union is scheduled for tomorrow, December 4, ahead of the next round of talks with the Centre, to converse over the discussing points.
Farmers' Groups Say no to Govt Lunch
Farmer leaders on Thursday refused the lunch offered by the government during their meeting with three Union ministers here and preferred to eat the food ferried in a van from the Singhu border, where thousands of their colleagues are sitting in protest against the new agri laws.
During the lunch break, a small van carrying food for around 40 people was seen outside the Vigyan Bhawan, where the meeting is underway.
Farmers' leaders told the government to focus on resolving the issues instead of trying to be a good host by offering lunch, a farmer leader said. Tea, also, was said to have been arranged from a gurudwara.
(with inputs from PTI)