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Tomar Urges Farmers to End Seven-Month-Long-Strike, Says Centre Ready to Resume Talks

Chintu Das
Chintu Das
Farmers Protest

Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Saturday urged farmers to end their protests over the three farm bills, saying the government is ready to resume talks.

To break the deadlock and end the farmers' protest, the Government and farmer unions have gone through 11 rounds of discussions, the most recent on January 22. Following extensive violence at a tractor rally by protesting farmers on January 26, talks have yet to restart.

Also Read - Farm Bills 2020: Why Farmers are Protesting against These Bills? Analysis in Detail

Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana, and western Uttar Pradesh, have been camping on Delhi's outskirts for the past seven months in protest of three legislation they claim will stop state procurement of crops at Minimum support price.

The Supreme Court has put the three legislation on hold until additional orders are issued, and has formed a committee to investigate alternatives. The report of the committee has been submitted.

"I want to convey through your media that farmers should end their agitation. Many are in favour of these new laws across the country. Still, some farmers have any issue with provisions of the laws. The Government of India is ready to listen and discuss with them," Tomar tweeted.

According to him, the government undertook 11 rounds of meetings with farmer unions who were protesting. The government has raised the minimum support price (MSP) and is purchasing more goods at this price.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the farmers' protest started back on November 26 last year and has now lasted seven months. Three union ministers, including Tomar and Food Minister Piyush Goyal, have met with the protesting farmer unions for 11 rounds of negotiations.

Also Read - Farmers Observe ‘Black Day Today to Mark Six-Months Agitation Against Centre’s Three Agricultural Laws

The government's negotiations with 41 farmer groups hit a snag at their most recent meeting on January 22, when the unions flatly rejected the Centre's request to suspend the laws.

In exchange for the protesting farmers returning to their respective homes from the capital borders, the Centre proposed to suspend the laws for 1 to 1 and a half years and form a joint committee to identify solutions during the 10th session of discussions on January 20.

Farmers' associations have claimed that the new farm laws will eliminate the mandi and MSP procurement systems, leaving farmers at the whim of large corporations, despite the government dismissing these fears as baseless.

The Supreme Court suspended the three laws' execution until further decisions were issued on January 11 and created a four-member panel to resolve the dispute. Bhupinder Singh Mann, the president of the Bhartiya Kisan Union, had exempted himself from the committee.

The panel also includes Anil Ghanwat, President of Shetkari Sanghatana (Maharashtra), and agriculture economists Pramod Kumar Joshi and Ashok Gulati. They have concluded the stakeholder consultation process and submitted the report.

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