Government Invites Farmers For Talks, Says Committed To Resolve Issues

Farmers protest: Government invites farmers for talks on Wednesday, 2 pm, says committed to resolve issues with open mind

Farmers beat utensils during a protest against the recent farm laws in Ghazipur.

New Delhi:

The Centre has invited farmers for a fresh round of talks, which will be held at 2 pm on Wednesday. This will be the sixth time a way out of the deadlock is being attempted, days after the Supreme Court ordered the formation of a committee to resolve the protest over new laws outside the borders of Delhi, which have been raging for more than a month.

The talks so far have remained inconclusive, with both sides sticking to their stand. The farmers have been adamant about the scrapping of the laws while the government made it clear that it could only accept changes in the laws.

The protesting farmer unions later agreed "in-principle" to the government's proposal of holding the next round of talks.

Abhimanyu Kohar, a senior farmer leader, said: "In our letter sent to the government on December 26, we had clearly mentioned that repeal of three farm laws and legal guarantee for MSP should be part of the agenda for fresh talks, but despite this, the government in letter today has not mentioned any specific agenda".

"But, we have agreed in-principle to hold talks with the government," he told the news agency PTI.

Ahead of the meeting, Union ministers Narendra Singh Tomar and Piyush Goyal -- who have been holding the talks with farmers -- met cabinet colleague Amit Shah, who was the last to meet the farmers. The farmers have firmly rejected the possibility of accepting any amendment -- which was suggested again at that meeting and later put in writing by the Centre.

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Talking of tomorrow's meeting, a senior official of the agriculture ministry said, "The meeting will discuss the laws related to all three new agrarian reforms, the existing system of MSP, Central Electricity Bill and the Commission Ordinance brought for pollution".

Mr Tomar today said the farm laws have received widespread acceptance across the country and expressed hope of a resolution to the farmers' protest that has been raging outside the borders of the national capital for more than a month.

Some people have tried to mislead farmer unions about the three new farm laws, Mr Tomar he said at a meeting of Confederation of NGOs of Rural India or CNRI.

With inputs from PTI