Ready for talks, but govt should send concrete proposal, say protesting farmers

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NEW DELHI/CHANDIGARH : The weeks-long deadlock over the new farm laws continued on Wednesday with farmer unions demanding that the Union government offer concrete proposals, abandon its stubbornness and accept their demands to end their agitation. Both sides have now indicated they are ready for talks without budging on their core agenda.

After a meeting of their umbrella body, the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), farmer leaders said they were ready for talks but are waiting for the Centre to come to the table with an open mind. In a letter addressed to Vivek Aggarwal, Joint Secretary in the Union agriculture ministry, they said there was no clarity on various sticking points like guaranteeing the minimum support price mechanism, electricity amendment (ordinance) and ordinance on air quality.

The Centre is already on record as saying it is ready to discuss and address all concerns of the agitating farmers. And Prime Minister Narendra Modi will continue his outreach by interacting with farmers from six states on Friday. The day will also see nine crore farmers receiving Rs 18,000 crore in their bank accounts through direct transfer as part of PM Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana.

“We urge the government not to repeat the meaningless amendments we have already rejected but come up with a concrete proposal in writing so that the process of negotiation can be started as soon as possible,” Swaraj Abhiyan chief Yogendra Yadav said. He is a member of the SKM. “The government is constantly holding talks with so-called farmer leaders and organisations who are not associated with our movement. This is an attempt to break our movement.

It is dealing with protesting farmers, the way it deals with the Opposition,’’ Yadav added.  Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Mahasangh president Shiv Kumar Kakka said: “The government should abandon its stubbornness and create conducive environment for talks with protesting farmers and accept their demands. We have already told Union home minister Amit Shah that protesting farmers will not accept amendments.” All India Kisan Sabha leader Hannan Mollah alleged that the government wants to delay this resolution of the agitation and break the morale of the farmers.

Committed to reforms
Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar said the government will continue with reforms in the farm sector.  “However old and strong the protest is, a solution can be arrived at only through talks,”
he said

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