New Delhi: The Union Ministry of Agriculture on Monday wrote to the protesting farmer leaders in Delhi and invited them for a meeting once again to come to an understanding and put an end to the ongoing agitation. The letter stated that the government was ready to discuss farmers’ apprehensions. In the letter to 40 union leaders, the Centre also sought suggestions for a date of meeting from farmers’ leaders. Also Read - Ahead of Talks, SC Panel Member Says Will Seek Views of Farmers, Stakeholders on Farm Laws
Union Agriculture Ministry Joint Secretary Vivek Aggarwal said the Centre is making all efforts with “an open heart” to find an appropriate solution to resolve all the concerns raised by farmers. Also Read - Women Take Over Protests For a Day to Mark 'Women Farmers' Day' Amid Ongoing Agitation
The letter was released on a day when farmers have decided to observe a day-long relay hunger strike at all sites of protest against the Centre’s new Agri laws and halt toll collection on highways in Haryana from December 25 to 27. Also Read - Breaking LIVE: Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju Given Additional Charge of Ayush Ministry Till Shripad Naik Recovers
Previous five rounds of talks between the government and the unions have failed to break the deadlock with the farmers insisting on the repeal of the three laws and camping at various border points of Delhi for over three weeks now. Earlier on December 9, the government had proposed to make necessary amendments on at least seven issues, including providing a “written assurance” to the farmers that the existing minimum support price (MSP) system would continue. However, farmers rejected it.
Earlier on Saturday, Home Minister Amit Shah said it is likely that Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar will in a day or two meet the union leaders.
Thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana, UP and some other states are protesting against the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act.
Enacted in September, the three farm laws have been projected by the central government as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove the middlemen and allow farmers to sell anywhere in the country.
However, the protesting farmers have expressed apprehension that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of Minimum Support Price and do away with the mandi system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates.
(With Agency inputs)