Saturday, February 27

Consensus between farmers and govt on two points, other two to be discussed in Jan 4 meet: Tomar

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Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Wednesday said that the government has agreed to resolve the concerns of protesting farmers over the rise in power tariff and penalties for stubble burning. However, the deadlock over the main contentious issues of the repeal of three farm laws and a legal guarantee for Minimum Support Price (MSP) still continues.
The government and representatives of 41 farmer unions held the sixth round of discussions today over the three farm laws at Vigyan Bhavan in the national capital. The meeting went on for nearly five hours.
Addressing reporters after the meeting, Tomar said that the talks took place in a cordial atmosphere and at least 50 per cent resolution has been reached with mutual agreement on two out of four items on the agenda.

Tomar interacts with a farmers’ representative, at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi. (PTI)
Elaborating on the discussions, Tomar said that Centre is ready to resolve the issues relating to the proposed electricity law and about an ordinance on penal provisions for stubble burning.
The farmers wanted the government to keep them out of the preview of fines for stubble burning. They also wanted the withdrawal of the electricity bill, claiming that it went against their interests.
The next round of discussions on the other two demands related to the three laws and MSP will take place on January 4, Tomar said.
He praised the farmer leaders for maintaining peace and discipline during their protest but urged them to send back the elderly, women and children due to the extreme cold weather.
Tomar said the union leaders kept insisting on repeal of the three farm laws, but the government tried to explain them the benefits of the legislations and sought to know specific problems faced by the farmers.

Tomar and senior ministers have ‘langar’ with farmers’ representatives during the meeting. (PTI)
After the meeting, farmer leader Kalwant Singh Sandhu said Wednesday’s talks mostly focused on electricity and stubble burning, while the next meeting on January 4 would focus on the MSP guarantee and the three farm laws.
Thousands of farmers, especially from Punjab, Haryana and parts of Uttar Pradesh, are camping at Delhi’s borders seeking the repeal of the three farm laws enacted in September by the Centre. They have threatened to intensify their stir in the coming days if their demands are not fulfilled.
Enacted in September, the three farm laws have been projected by the Centre as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove the middlemen and allow farmers to sell their produce anywhere in the country.