PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
New Delhi, Jan 14: The govern-ment’s ninth round of negotiations with protesting farmer unions will take place as scheduled on Friday and the Centre is hopeful of posi-tive discussions, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said on Thursday. “The government is ready to hold talks with farmers’ leaders with an open mind,”
Tomar told reporters here. Clearing the confusion over the fate of the ninth round of talks, which was the only outcome in the last meeting on January 8, in the wake of the Supreme Court on January 11 appointing a four-mem-ber panel to resolve the impasse and a key member of the proposed committee subsequently mousing himself;
Tomar said the talks be-tween the government and the union representatives will take place as scheduled for 12 pm on January 15. The farmer unions have been maintaining that they were ready to attend the scheduled talks with the government, even as they have said they do not want to appear before the court-appointed panel and have also questioned its composition.
The apex court had on Tuesday stayed the implementa-tion of the three central laws till fur-ther orders and announced the for-mation of a committee to hear the grievances of the farmers and the opinion of the government.
Thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab, Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh, have been camping at the border of Delhi for several weeks, demanding the repeal of the laws they say will lead to the weakening of the minimum support price (MSP) system. The three contentious laws are the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Essential Commodities
(Amendment) Act, 2020 and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020. Protesting farmer leaders Thursday said they will attend the ninth round of talks with the gov-ernment amid indication that it may be last such meeting with the Centre,
but added that they don’t have much hope as they will not set-tle for anything less than the re-peal of the contentious farm laws. Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) Joginder Singh Ugrahan told PTI,
“We are going to hold talks with the government to-morrow. We don’t have much hope from the Friday meeting as the government will cite the SC-ap-pointed panel. The government doesn’t have good intention to re-solve our issues.” Singh said that the unions do not want any com-mittee, adding “we just want a com-plete repeal of three farm laws and legal guarantee on minimum support price for our crops.”