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Farmers' Protest Updates: Consensus on 2 out of 4 issues reached between both sides, says Tomar; next meeting on 4 Jan

Farmers' Protest Updates: The Centre, during its meeting with the farmers’ unions on Wednesday, offered to set up a committee to deliberate on their demands related to the agricultural laws

FP Staff December 30, 2020 20:08:21 IST
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Farmers' Protest Updates: Consensus on 2 out of 4 issues reached between both sides, says Tomar; next meeting on 4 Jan

The leaders of farmer unions hold the sixth round of talks with the Centre at Delhi's Vigyan Bhavan on Wednesday. PTI

Highlights

18:18 (ist)

Farmers' Protest LATEST Updates

Centre offers to set up a committee to discuss farmers issues

Leaders of farmers’ unions, at their meeting with the Centre on Wednesday, demanding the scrapping of the new laws. As per NDTVin their counter-offer, the government has ruled out scrapping the laws but said it can set up a committee to discuss the farmers' issues, sources told the news channel.

A government official also told Hindustan Times about the the pros and cons of a law on MSP. The government argued that a law making MSP compulsory for even private traders, essentially prohibiting sale of any farm produce below state-set prices, could spark chaos in markets.

15:21 (ist)

Farmers' Protest LATEST Updates

Falling market rates forcing farmers to sell crops below MSP: Union leaders

As farmers' protest against three new farm laws continues, union leaders on Wednesday said peasants in some parts of the country are being forced to sell crops including paddy below the Minimum Support Price as market rates have fallen and asserted that the agitation will continue till the government agrees to their demands.

"After new farm laws were implemented in Uttar Pradesh, prices of crops have fallen by 50 per cent. Crops are being bought at below MSP. Paddy is being sold at Rs 800 per quintal. We will raise these issues in the meeting," Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait said.

Before entering the venue of the sixth round of talks between farmer groups and the government, Tikait told reporters that farmers will continue their stir if the government does not agree to our demands.

"We will not leave Delhi till our demands are met. We will celebrate New year at borders" he said.

Punjab farmer leader Baldev Singh Sirsa came for the meeting carrying placards of media reports of fraudulent cases reported in Guna and Hosangabad after implementation of the new laws. "We don't have any new agenda. The government is maligning us by saying farmers are not coming for talks. So we gave 29 December date for talks. We have given them our clear agenda but the government is insisting that laws are beneficial for farmers," Sirsa said.

Showing media reports, he said more fraudulent cases are being reported after the implementation of the new laws and these issues will be raised in the meeting.

-PTI

15:01 (ist)

Farmers' Protest LATEST Updates

Punjab Police vow action against those destroying mobile towers

After more than 1,500 telecom towers, owned by Reliance, were allegedly vandalised by farmers, the Punjab Police on Tuesday said it will take strict action against those resorting to violence “under the garb of their democratic right to protest”, reported NDTV. This came after Chief Minister Amarinder Singh issued a stern warning, saying he would not allow Punjab to be “plunged into anarchy” or tolerate destruction of any private or public property.

“I will not allow anyone to take the law into their hands,” Singh told The Indian Express. The chief minister added that the situation was under control by Tuesday, as “only four to five cases of vandalisation have come to light in the past 24 hours”

14:06 (ist)

Farmers' Protest LATEST Updates

Today's meeting will be decisive, says Union minister

Ahead of the sixth round of talks between the Centre and farmer groups on the new agriculture laws, Union minister Som Parkash said that Wednesday’s discussion will be decisive, reports NDTV. On the other hand, Sukhwinder Singh Sabra, Joint Secretary of the Punjab unit of Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee said his association did not think that an agreement will be reached, according to Scroll.in

13:55 (ist)

Farmers' Protest LATEST Updates

Reliance Jio writes to Punjab CM, DGP seeking intervention against vandalism of Jio sites

Reliance Jio Infocomm has written to Punjab CM Amarinder Singh and Punjab DGP seeking their intervention into the "incidents of sabotage and vandalism of Jio Network sites" in Punjab by unknown persons, reports India Today.

Amid the ongoing farmers’ protest in Punjab and Delhi borders, reports have suggested that over 176 mobile signal transmitting sites have been vandalised in Punjab over the past few days. As the farmers reject the farm reform laws brought by the Centre, there is a growing perception among farmers that billionaires Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani stand to benefit from the reforms.The protesting farmers have put up banners against Reliance Jio and others and called for a boycott of their products. Meanwhile, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had appealed to the farmers to not damage telecom infrastructure in the state.

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Dec 30, 2020 - 19:34 (IST)

Farmers' Protest LATEST Updates

Sixth round of talks ends; next meeting on 4 Jan

The sixth round of talks between the Centre and protesting farmer unions has concluded. After the meeting, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said a consensus has been reached between the two sides on two out of four issues, reports The Indian Express.

As per PTI, the next round of discussions will now be held on 4 January. 

Dec 30, 2020 - 18:57 (IST)

Farmers' Protest LATEST Updates

Farmers don't trust PM Modi: Rahul Gandhi

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday alleged that farmers do not trust Prime Minister Narendra Modi due to his long history of "asatyagraha" and shared an online survey asking people why the PM was not repealing the farm laws.

"'15 lakh in every bank account and 2 crore jobs every year', 'Give me 50 days time, else...', 'We will win war against corona in 21 days', 'Neither has anyone intruded into our territory nor took over any post'. Farmers don't trust Modi ji due to his long history of 'asatyagraha'," he said in a tweet.

The former Congress president also shared the online survey, asking, "Mr Modi is refusing to repeal the anti-farmer laws because he is:" and gave the options "anti-farmer", "run by crony capitalists", "arrogant" or "all of the above".

Gandhi is currently abroad visiting an ailing relative and also meeting his maternal grandmother.

Dec 30, 2020 - 18:18 (IST)

Farmers' Protest LATEST Updates

Centre offers to set up a committee to discuss farmers issues

Leaders of farmers’ unions, at their meeting with the Centre on Wednesday, demanding the scrapping of the new laws. As per NDTVin their counter-offer, the government has ruled out scrapping the laws but said it can set up a committee to discuss the farmers' issues, sources told the news channel.

A government official also told Hindustan Times about the the pros and cons of a law on MSP. The government argued that a law making MSP compulsory for even private traders, essentially prohibiting sale of any farm produce below state-set prices, could spark chaos in markets.

Dec 30, 2020 - 17:33 (IST)

Farmers' Protest LATEST Updates

Govt-farmers meeting: Ministers join union leaders to share langar food

Three union ministers joined farm leaders on Wednesday to share 'langar' food arranged by protesting farmers during their sixth round of talks to resolve the deadlock over new farm laws.

The 'langar' (community kitchen) food arrived in a van at the meeting venue, Vigyan Bhawan, after around two hours of discussions had taken place and the two sides took a break for tea and snacks.Sources present at the venue said that Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Food and Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and Minister of State for Commerce Som Parkash joined the farmer leaders to share their langar food during the break.

Farmer leaders said that the talks were continuing and they were going 'agenda wise'.

During the last few meetings, farmer leaders have been arranging their own lunch, snacks and beverages while refusing to have the food organised by the government. At one such meeting, farmer leaders had even invited the ministers to langar at their protest site on Singhu border.

Dec 30, 2020 - 17:04 (IST)

Farmers' Protest LATEST Updates

Akhilesh Yadav claims ground level BJP workers want withdrawal of farm laws

Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav on Wednesday claimed that the ruling BJP's ground-level workers also want the withdrawal of three new farm laws as they feel they will not be able to face the people.

Thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab and Haryana, are protesting at various borders of the national capital for more than a month against the three new laws.

In a tweet in Hindi, the SP chief said, The BJP government should not 'cheat' farmers of the entire country for the benefit of a few rich friends and in today's talks, withdraw the agriculture laws. The truth is that the ground-level worker of the BJP also wants the same because he is not able to garner the courage to go among the general people. The political leadership of India has never been so barren.

The government has invited the protesting farmers for the sixth round of talks on Wednesday in connection with the ongoing agitation

Dec 30, 2020 - 16:49 (IST)

Farmers' Protest LATEST Updates

Govt wants all farmers get MSP benefit: Yogi Adityanath

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Wednesday said his government intended that all farmers get the MSP benefit, for which directives have been issued to ensure proper functioning of paddy procurement centres in the state.

According to a press release, the chief minister directed that farmers' produce be procured without any delay and, if required, additional arrangements should be made for it.

The CM stressed that the intention of his government is to ensure that farmers get all benefits of the MSP, the release said.

The chief minister, who was reviewing works of different departments, said the state government is committed to betterment of the rural economy through dairies, for which more dugdh samitis should be set up and villagers be connected with dairy programmes by forming self-help groups.

He asked chief veterinary officers to regularly monitored cow shelter homes.

Dec 30, 2020 - 16:22 (IST)

Farmers' Protest LATEST Updates

Involve PM or Amit Shah for 'successful dialogue', Congress leader tells farmers

Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar too favoured direct talks with the PM, saying the involvement of the prime minister or Union home minister is a must for a successful dialogue.

Jakhar said for talks to be successful, the involvement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi or Union Home Minister Amit Shah is a must.

After Amit Shah's intervention failing to resolve the issue, next level of talks should have been with PM. Strangely these have been downgraded to previous levels. For talks to be successful, the involvement PM or HM is a must. Otherwise, it's a futile exercise, Jakhar tweeted.

Dec 30, 2020 - 16:09 (IST)

Farmers' Protest LATEST Updates

Hold direct talks with PM for successful outcome: SAD tells farmers

The Shiromani Akali Dal and the Congress on Wednesday urged farmers protesting against the Centre's farm laws to talk directly with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying otherwise the dialogue will not yield any result.

Commenting on farmer leaders' meeting with the Centre over the laws on Wednesday, former Union minister and Akali Dal's Bathinda MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal said they shouldn't fall into the trap of extended meetings, which yield nothing .

Our farmers are on the cusp of victory. I appeal to them to hold direct talks with the PM to get these agri laws repealed," Badal said in a tweet.

They shouldn't fall into trap of extended meetings which yield nothing, the Bathinda MP added.

Badal, whose party had quit the BJP-led NDA due to differences over the issue earlier this year, said had the Centre listened to her warnings about repercussions of the laws, things could not have come to such an impasse.

Dec 30, 2020 - 15:21 (IST)

Farmers' Protest LATEST Updates

Falling market rates forcing farmers to sell crops below MSP: Union leaders

As farmers' protest against three new farm laws continues, union leaders on Wednesday said peasants in some parts of the country are being forced to sell crops including paddy below the Minimum Support Price as market rates have fallen and asserted that the agitation will continue till the government agrees to their demands.

"After new farm laws were implemented in Uttar Pradesh, prices of crops have fallen by 50 per cent. Crops are being bought at below MSP. Paddy is being sold at Rs 800 per quintal. We will raise these issues in the meeting," Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait said.

Before entering the venue of the sixth round of talks between farmer groups and the government, Tikait told reporters that farmers will continue their stir if the government does not agree to our demands.

"We will not leave Delhi till our demands are met. We will celebrate New year at borders" he said.

Punjab farmer leader Baldev Singh Sirsa came for the meeting carrying placards of media reports of fraudulent cases reported in Guna and Hosangabad after implementation of the new laws. "We don't have any new agenda. The government is maligning us by saying farmers are not coming for talks. So we gave 29 December date for talks. We have given them our clear agenda but the government is insisting that laws are beneficial for farmers," Sirsa said.

Showing media reports, he said more fraudulent cases are being reported after the implementation of the new laws and these issues will be raised in the meeting.

-PTI

Dec 30, 2020 - 15:01 (IST)

Farmers' Protest LATEST Updates

Punjab Police vow action against those destroying mobile towers

After more than 1,500 telecom towers, owned by Reliance, were allegedly vandalised by farmers, the Punjab Police on Tuesday said it will take strict action against those resorting to violence “under the garb of their democratic right to protest”, reported NDTV. This came after Chief Minister Amarinder Singh issued a stern warning, saying he would not allow Punjab to be “plunged into anarchy” or tolerate destruction of any private or public property.

“I will not allow anyone to take the law into their hands,” Singh told The Indian Express. The chief minister added that the situation was under control by Tuesday, as “only four to five cases of vandalisation have come to light in the past 24 hours”

Farmers' Protest LATEST Updates: Three union ministers joined farm leaders on Wednesday to share 'langar' food arranged by protesting farmers during their sixth round of talks to resolve the deadlock over new farm laws.

Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav on Wednesday claimed that the ruling BJP's ground-level workers also want the withdrawal of three new farm laws as they feel they will not be able to face the people.

The Shiromani Akali Dal and the Congress on Wednesday urged farmers protesting against the Centre's farm laws to talk directly with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying otherwise the dialogue will not yield any result.

As farmers' protest against three new farm laws continues, union leaders on Wednesday said peasants in some parts of the country are being forced to sell crops including paddy below the Minimum Support Price as market rates have fallen and asserted that the agitation will continue till the government agrees to their demands.

The Centre and the protesting farmer unions will resume stalled talks on Wednesday with the latter sticking to their hardline position that the parleys will only be on the modalities of repealing the three new agri laws and giving a legal guarantee on the MSP among other issues.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday in an exclusive interview with news agency ANIappealed to the farmers to engage the government in a logical debate on every clause of the new agricultural legislations, and allow the administration “to do the needful to address their problems”.

Ahead of the crucial sixth round of talks after a three-week hiatus, Union ministers Narendra Singh Tomar and Piyush Goyal on Tuesday met senior BJP leader and Home Minister Amit Shah. Sources said they discussed and finalised the government's position for the meeting.

Tomar, the Minister for Agriculture, and Goyal, the Minister for Food and Consumer Affairs, and MoS Commerce and Industry Som Parkash have been representing the Centre at the talks with the farmers. Tomar on Monday said he is hopeful of an early solution to the impasse.

The Centre on Monday invited the 40 protesting farmer unions for the next round of talks on December 30 on all relevant issues to find a "logical solution" with "open mind" to the prolonged impasse over the three new agri laws that was enacted in September.

But in its letter on Tuesday, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha, the umbrella organisation which represents the farmer unions, said the modalities for repealing the three contentious laws and a legal guarantee on minimum support price (MSP) must be part of the agenda.

The Morcha further said the agenda should also include amendments to be made and notified in the Commission for the Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Ordinance, 2020 to exclude farmers from its penal provisions.

Through the letter, the Morcha also formally accepted the government's invitation for the dialogue.

The letter also stated that withdrawal of the Electricity Amendment Bill 2020 to protect the interests of farmers should also be part of the agenda.

The fifth round of talks was held on December 5, while the sixth round originally scheduled for December 9 was called off after an informal meeting of Home Minister Shah with some union leaders failed to reach any breakthrough.

The government had, however, followed up Shah's meeting with a draft proposal sent to the unions in which it had suggested 7-8 amendments to the new laws and written assurance on the MSP procurement system. It has ruled out a repeal of the three agri laws.

In a letter to the farmer unions, Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Aggarwal on Monday invited them for the talks at 2 pm on Wednesday at Vigyan Bhavan in the national capital.

The farmers had also written to the government on 26 December listing the agenda.

In the latest letter, the Morcha pointed out that in its 26 December communication to the government, it had mentioned "changes" by mistake instead of "withdrawal" in the Electricity Amendment Bill 2020.

Farmer unions also deferred to Thursday their proposed tractor march against the contentious agriculture laws, so that the rally does not clash with their talks with the government.

Thousands of protesting farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, have been camping at three Delhi border points -- Singhu, Ghazipur and Tikri -- for the past 31 days, demanding a repeal of the three farm laws and legal guarantee for MSP.

The Congress demanded legal sanctity to the demands of farmers including that on ensuring the MSP.

Addressing a joint press conference, Congress leaders Rajeev Shukla and Govind Dotasra said the government must immediately repeal the three farm laws and bring fresh ones after incorporating the demands of farmers and then get them passed by Parliament.

Shukla also said it was wrong on the part of the government to dub the farmers agitation as political as it is an attempt to defame farmers.

NCP supremo and former agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, meanwhile, accused the Centre of bulldozing the farm laws without consulting states and asserted that agriculture cannot be run "sitting in Delhi" as it involves farmers toiling in distant villages.

Pawar also raised questions about the composition of the three-member ministerial group negotiating with the unions, saying the ruling party should have put forward leaders with "in-depth" understanding of agriculture and farmers' issues.

In an interview with PTI, the former union minister said the government needs to take the protests seriously and it was "unfair" on the part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to blame opposition parties for the agitation by farmers.

He said the opposition parties will take a call on their future course of action on Wednesday if the government fails to resolve the impasse.

The three farm laws have been projected by the Centre as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove middlemen and allow farmers to sell their produce 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 the MSP and do away with the "mandi" (wholesale market) system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates.

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