Centre, farmer unions to resume stalled talks today

Representational Image. Photo source: twitter / @FDI_org

The Centre and the protesting farmer unions will resume stalled talks on Wednesday with the latter sticking to their hardline position that the parleys will only be on the modalities of repealing the three new agri laws and giving a legal guarantee on the MSP among other issues.

Ahead of the crucial sixth round of talks after a three-week hiatus, Union ministers Narendra Singh Tomar and Piyush Goyal on Tuesday met senior BJP leader and Home Minister Amit Shah. Sources said they discussed and finalised the government’s position for the meeting.

Tomar, the minister for Agriculture, and Goyal, the minister for Food and Consumer Affairs, and MoS Commerce and Industry Som Parkash have been representing the Centre at the talks with the farmers. Tomar on Monday said he is hopeful of an early solution to the impasse.

The Centre on Monday invited the 40 protesting farmer unions for the next round of talks on December 30 on all relevant issues to find a “logical solution” with “open mind” to the prolonged impasse over the three new agri laws that was enacted in September.

But in its letter on Tuesday, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha, the umbrella organisation which represents the farmer unions, said the modalities for repealing the three contentious laws and a legal guarantee on minimum support price (MSP) must be part of the agenda.

The Morcha further said the agenda should also include amendments to be made and notified in the Commission for the Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Ordinance, 2020 to exclude farmers from its penal provisions.

Through the letter, the Morcha also formally accepted the government’s invitation for the dialogue.

The letter also stated that withdrawal of the Electricity Amendment Bill 2020 to protect the interests of farmers should also be part of the agenda. The fifth round of talks was held on December 5, while the sixth round originally scheduled for December 9 was called off after an informal meeting of Home Minister Shah with some union leaders failed to reach any breakthrough.