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Agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar. The next meeting is scheduled on 3 December (HT)
Agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar. The next meeting is scheduled on 3 December (HT)

Farmer protests to continue as talks remain inconclusive

Agri bodies rejected proposal to form an expert panel with farmer representatives to discuss the new laws

NEW DELHI : The deadlock at Delhi’s borders is likely to continue as a meeting between protesting farmer groups and the central government held on Tuesday remained inconclusive. The next meeting is scheduled on 3 December.

Hundreds of thousands of farmers in tractor-trolleys are stationed at border points between Delhi and Haryana demanding that the government roll back the agricultural marketing reform laws passed by Parliament in September.

“The interaction helped us to understand each other’s position," agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar said after the meeting which lasted for more than three hours. Apart from Tomar, the government was represented by railways and food minister Piyush Goyal.

The government proposed to form a five-member expert committee with farmer representatives to discuss the laws and arrive at a resolution via mutual consent. “During the interaction, we asked farmers representatives to identify specific issues related to the reform acts and share them with the government (by Wednesday) for consideration," the agriculture ministry said. The specific points will be discussed in the next meeting on Thursday.

However, farmer organizations rejected the proposal saying “such committees led to no results and outcomes in the past". “We made it clear to the government that it should take back these black laws. We have little hope that a government constituted panel will lead to any resolution," said Hannan Mollah, former MP and member of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee, who attended the meeting with 34 other farmer representatives, most of them from Punjab and Haryana.

“We will intensify our agitation. The government is trying to portray that only the Punjab farmers are opposed to these acts when it is a pan-India issue," said Jagmohan Singh, a farmer leader from Punjab who was part of the meeting. The government wanted to meet farmer organisations from Punjab but later included representatives from other national platforms, said Singh.

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