Talks with Centre, reply to government’s letter on agenda of farmers’ meeting today

CHANDIGARH: After the Centre’s renewed offer of talks, the farmers unions on Tuesday said the final decision on holding further communication with the government will be taken at their joint meeting on Wednesday.

“A marathon meeting of 32 farmer unions of Punjab was held today (Tuesday) in which the consensus was that the final decision on whether to talk to the government or not and how to counter them will be taken at the meeting of the Sanyukt Morcha that will be held tomorrow afternoon. The meeting will also deliberate on the reply to be sent to the government’s letter,” said Bharatiya Kisan Union (Rajewal Group) general secretary, Omkar Singh.

In a letter to 40 farmer union leaders on Sunday, the agriculture ministry had asked to specify their ‘remaining’ concerns and choose a convenient date for the next round of talks so that the ongoing agitation could end at the earliest.

The farmers said the final decision will take into consideration the views of over 400 small farmer groups that are part of the agitation.

The farmer unions also plan to approach the British government requesting that Prime Minister Boris Johnson should not attend the Republic Day parade, for which he has consented to be the chief guest.

“It was decided that MPs in the UK will be contacted with the plea to put pressure on their government that PM Johnson should not attend the January 26 function,” Singh said.

Another farmer leader said, “In today’s meeting, it was felt that till the government gives any concrete proposal and moves a step forward from its stance, which we have already rejected earlier, we should not hold further discussions as it will be meaningless.”

The sixth round of talks on December 9 was cancelled following a deadlock with the farmer unions refusing to budge from their demand for repealing the three central laws.

Meanwhile, the All India Trade Union Congress and its associate unions will observe December 23 as ‘Skip Lunch’ day to express solidarity with the farmers who are on a relay hunger strike, said its general secretary Amarjeet Kaur.

In Punjab, arhtiyas (commission agents) closed the mandis across the state for next four days to protest against the income tax raids on them.

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