Centre Hopeful Of "Positive Discussion" With Farmers Tomorrow: Agriculture Minister

Meanwhile, a key member of the Supreme Court-appointed four-member panel to resolve the impasse, Bhupinder Singh Mann has recused himself from the committee.

Centre Hopeful Of 'Positive Discussion' With Farmers Tomorrow: Agriculture Minister

Narendra Tomar said Centre is ready to hold talks with farmers "with open mind"

New Delhi:

The government's ninth round of negotiations with protesting farmer unions will take place as scheduled tomorrow and the Centre is hopeful of a positive discussion, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said today.

"The government is ready to hold talks with farmers' leaders with an open mind," Mr Tomar told reporters.

Clearing the confusion over the fate of the ninth round of talks, which was the only outcome of the last meeting on January 8, Mr Tomar said the talks between the government and the union representatives will take place as scheduled for 12 pm on January 15.

Meanwhile, a key member of the Supreme Court-appointed four-member panel to resolve the impasse, Bhupinder Singh Mann has recused himself from the committee.

The farmer unions have been maintaining that they are ready to attend the scheduled talks with the government, even as they said they do not want to appear before the court-appointed panel and  also questioned its composition.

Earlier in the day, Bhartiya Kisan Union president Bhupinder Singh Mann said he is recusing himself from the four-member committee.

Farmer unions and opposition parties had called it a "pro-government" panel, insisting that its members have been in favour of the three laws in the past.

Mr Mann said he is thankful to the top court for nominating him to the panel but would give up any position to prevent farmers' interests from being compromised.

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"As a farmer myself and a union leader, in view of the prevailing sentiments and apprehensions amongst the farm unions and the public in general, I am ready to sacrifice any position offered or given to me so as to not compromise the interests of Punjab and farmers of the country," he said in a statement.

"I am recusing myself from the committee and I will always stand with my farmers and Punjab," Mr Mann added.

The top court had on Tuesday stayed the implementation of the three central laws until further orders and announced the formation of a committee to hear the grievances of the farmers and the opinion of the government.

Apart from Bhupinder Singh Mann, Shetkari Sanghatana (Maharashtra) president Anil Ghanwat, International Food Policy Research Institute's Pramod Kumar Joshi and agriculture economist Ashok Gulati were appointed on the panel.

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 and the collapse of the mandi system.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)