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Amidst the ongoing farmers' protest, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Saturday stated that the government is ready for more talks with the farmers regarding the three farm laws, ANI report said. Till now, the government and the farmers have conducted 11 rounds of talks.

"Many farmers unions, economists are supporting the Agricultural Bills but some farmers are protesting against the bills," Tomar said adding, "The government held 11 round of talks with protesting farmer unions, we are ready for more talks."

"We offered to discuss problematic areas and make changes in them. Farmer unions didn't accept and didn't give reason. Agitation continues either when government isn't ready to talk or when union doesn't get favourable response. Here unions decided to continue it anyway," Tomar further said.

The government and farmer unions have held 11 rounds of talks, the last being on January 22, to break the deadlock and end the farmers' protest. However, talks have not resumed following widespread violence during a tractor rally by protesting farmers on January 26.

Earlier in the month of February, Tomar had hinted that the government was ready to resume talks with the farmers, given that the unions respond to its offer to put the three contentious farm laws on hold for 18 months and set up a joint committee to find solutions. On that day, he had said, "The government is fully sensitive towards farmers. We have held several rounds of talks (with unions). We proposed many amendments as well as keeping the farm reform Acts on hold for 1.5 years and setting up a joint panel to find solutions. But, they have not responded to our proposals."

Tomar also appealed to the farmers protesting at Delhi borders to call off their long-running agitation amidst massive rise in COVID cases.

"Now in the second wave of pandemic, the entire nation and the world is following COVID-19 protocols. Even protesting farmers should follow the protocols. Their life is important for us," Tomar said.

“In the current COVID-19 situation, I urge them (agitating farmers) to call off their protest. The government is ready for a discussion whenever they come with a proposal," he told reporters, a PTI report said.

Since 26 November last year, farmers have been protesting on the different borders of the national capital, 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.

(With inputs from agencies)

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