New Delhi: The Centre-farmers talks for the 11th time ended in deadlock again on Friday after farmers unions made it clear that the farm laws should be repealed. However, the government said some external forces are at work behind the protest of the farmers. During the meeting at Vigyan Bhawan, the unions squarely rejected the Centre’s proposal to put three contentious laws on hold, while Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said no resolution is possible when the sanctity of agitation is lost. Also Read - Punjab Government to Provide Job to Kin of Farmers Who Died During Protests on Delhi Borders
Unlike previous rounds of talks, the 11th round witnessed both the sides hardening their positions and could not even reach a decision on the next date for the meeting. The government asked unions to revert by Saturday in case they agree to the suspension proposal and the talks can continue only thereafter. Also Read - Farmers Feel 'Insulted' After Talks With Govt, To Go Ahead With Tractor Rally on Republic Day As Planned
Hardening their stand further, farmer leaders said they would settle for nothing less than a complete repeal of the laws, enacted in September last year, which they find pro-corporate, and a legal guarantee for the procurement of crops at government-fixed MSP (minimum support price). Also Read - This is The Best We Can Offer, Centre Tells Farmers; Talks Inconclusive, Unions Threaten to Intensify Stir
Tractor rally to go ahead on Jan 26
Refuting to call off their agitation, the farmers said they will intensify their agitation further and alleged that the government’s approach was not right during the meeting. They also said their tractor rally will go ahead as per the plans on January 26 and unions have told the police that it is the government’s responsibility to maintain peace.
“We all are geared up for participation in a tractor parade. Our first batch will move from Khanauri (in Sangrur) and another from from Dabwali (in Sirsa district),” Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan) general secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan said on Friday.
“Considering the kind of enthusiasm among people, over 30,000 tractors owing allegiance to our union will be part of the parade,” he said.
From the beginning of the meeting, the farmer leaders informed the government that they have decided to reject the proposal made in the last round of talks on Wednesday. However, the three central ministers, including Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, urged the union representatives to reconsider their stand, after which the two sides went for a break that lasted for more than three hours.
Centre maintains sensitive approach
After the meeting was over, Tomar said the government has always maintained a sensitive approach towards farmers and their interest, but some forces were definitely at works to keep the agitation on and those forces certainly do not want farmers to benefit. Tomar said the government will wait if there are some who think about the interest of the farmers and consider our proposal, the talks can be taken forward.
Maintaining that there cannot be a better proposal than the one made by the government, Tomar said, “We told the unions that they should re-consider it as this proposal is in the interest of farmers and of the country. Therefore we said we conclude the talks today. If you arrive at any decision, tell us tomorrow. We can meet at any place to announce that decision.”
Notably, thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, are protesting at various border points of Delhi for over a month now against the three laws.
Farmer groups have alleged these laws will end the mandi and MSP procurement systems and leave the farmers at the mercy of big corporates, even as the government has rejected these apprehensions as misplaced.