Three farm laws single major deadlock between govt and farmers
Even after five rounds of talks, a separate meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah and a government’s written proposal to the farmers accepting their various other key issues, there is no solution to the agitation.
While the government is adamant that it cannot rollback the three farm laws, the farmers are rigid on their stand that repealing the legislations is their “first and major” demand, terming the laws as “black law”, “anti-farmer” and “draconian”.
Both sides are still open to have discussions but they are not ready to compromise on the issue of the three laws — The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
In a fresh initiative, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Minister Piyush Goyal held a press conference on Thursday and urged the farmers to give-up the path of protests and continue talks to reach a solution, reiterating the government’s stand to come up with amendments to these three contentious laws and also clarified that the rollback demand is not acceptable.
“The way of dialogue has not broken yet, so they (farmers) should not take any path in between. The government has given them a proposal to remove their doubts in the new legislations,” Tomar said.
After the government’s press meet, Punjab’s Krantikari Kisan Union President Darshan Pal Singh told the media, “The government should repeal the three farm laws.”
Referring to Tomar and Goyal’s presser, Singh said, “There is no difference in the content of the government’s press conference.”
The farm leader was speaking at the Singhu border on Delhi-Chandigarh highway, one of the five major agitation points where thousands of farmers are braving the winter chill under open skies since November 26.
In the same farmers’ conference, Bharatiya Kisan Sabha President Boota Singh said, “When the meeting with the Home Minister took place, there was lots of uproar in the media. There is no difference of opinion within the farmers’ unions. Our major demand is to repeal the three farm laws, which remains unchanged.”
Boota Singh said that farmers across India will now hit the railway tracks in their protest against the government. “The government’s proposal on Wednesday rejected the demand to repeal the farm laws, which is our major demand. The government says the three laws cannot be dismissed and can only be amended. It is because they want to defeat the farmers and benefit the corporates,” he said.
The government is saying that these laws are for the welfare of the farmers and will give them the opportunity to earn more money. But the farmers are saying that they will only benefit the big traders and industrialists.
Bharatiya Kisan Union President Balbir Singh Rajewal alleged that the “government has accepted that the said laws have been made for the traders”. “Creating another mandi is a move to facilitate the monopoly of the corporates,” he said.
Rajewal said the government has broken the chain of talks. “Contract farming and private market law is for the corprates and that is why we are against them. Over 25 farmers have died as they had the fear of losing their land. We want to ask the government what is the harm in taking back these laws,” he said.
The matter is yet to be resolved as the government’s offer to form a committee in the draft proposal sent on Wednesday has been rejected by the farmers, who are now planning to raisew the scale of their protest.