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Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar (ANI)
Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar (ANI)

Delhi: Farmers' meet with govt concludes, next round of talks on 3 Dec

  • 'Proposed setting up a panel at the meeting today; want farmers to end protests,' says Union Agriculture Minister
  • Peaceful sit-ins by farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, continued at the Singhu and Tikri borders on Tuesday

New Delhi: Meeting between the farmers' leaders and the union government concluded on Tuesday, with another round of talks scheduled to be held on 3 December.

"The meeting was good and we have decided that the talks will be held on 3 December. We wanted a small group to be constituted but farmers' leaders wanted that the talks should be held with everyone, we do not have problem with it," said Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar.

"We appeal to the farmers to suspend the protests and come for the talks. However, this decision depends on farmers' unions and farmers," said Tomar.

"Our movement against farm laws will continue and we'll definitely take back something from the government, be it bullets or a peaceful solution. We'll come back for more discussions with them," said Chanda Singh, Member of farmers' delegation who met Tomar in Delhi today.

Meanwhile, BKU (Ekta Ugrahan) President Joginder Singh Ugrahan said government's meeting with protesting farmer unions remained inconclusive and that another meeting with farmer unions has been scheduled on 3 December.

"Today's meeting was good and some progress was made. During our next meet on 3 December with government, we'll convince them that no clause of farm law is pro-farmer. Our agitation will continue," said Prem Singh Bhangu, President, All India Kisan Federation on meeting with Tomar.

The government on Tuesday offered to set up a committee to look into issues raised by farmers protesting against new farm laws, but it was rejected by representatives of 35 agitating organisations during their marathon meeting with three union ministers that ended without any resolution.

The meeting remained inconclusive and the government has called for another round of discussions on Thursday, December 3, union leaders said.

The protesting farmers have expressed apprehension that the Centre's farm laws would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates.

The government has maintained that the new laws will bring farmers better opportunities and usher in new technologies in agriculture.

At the nearly three-hour-long meeting at Vigyan Bhawan here, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar was accompanied by Railways and Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and Minister of State for Commerce Som Parkash, also an MP from Punjab.

"The Ministers again explained the benefits of Farm Reform Acts to the representatives of the Farmers’ Unions. Various issues related to Farm Reform Acts were discussed at length and talks were held in a cordial atmosphere," said Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare in a statement.

"During the deliberations, the Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister proposed to constitute an expert committee to put forth the issues of farmers so as to resolve them with mutual consent but the representative of the Farmers Union suggested that all the representatives will attend further round of discussions with the Government to resolve the matter amicably," the ministry said.

"The farmer's organisations rejected the government's proposal to form a five-member committee to look into the issues related to the new farm laws," Roopsingh Sanha, member of Bharat Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan), told PTI.

It is one of the largest blocks of farmers who have been protesting against the new laws.

The government side was, however, firm in its stand that a high-level committee must be formed to look into the issues and wanted the farmer representatives to further consider the proposal.

Hours before the meeting, Union ministers Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah, Tomar and Goyal, along with BJP chief J P Nadda, had held marathon discussions over the farmers' protest against the Centre's new agriculture reform laws.

Peaceful sit-ins by farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, continued at the Singhu and Tikri borders with no untoward incident reported after Friday's violence, while the numbers of protestors swelled at the Ghazipur border on Monday.

The opposition parties too stepped up the pressure, asking the Centre to "respect the democratic struggle" of the farmers and repeal the laws.

An earlier meeting on November 13 had failed to give any breakthrough and the next one was originally scheduled for December 3, but it got advanced due to the ongoing protests on Delhi borders.

With inputs from PTI

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