Centre-farmers’ unions next round of meet uncertain

“When the committee has been mandated to find out the problems farmers have with the contentious laws, how can a parallel meeting with the agriculture minister be fruitful?” said a senior agriculture ministry official.

PTI
New Delhi: There is uncertainty over the next round of the Centre’s meeting with the protesting farmers’ unions scheduled for Friday given the four-member committee set up by the Supreme Court for resolution of the impasse over the new farm laws, said officials.

“When the committee has been mandated to find out the problems farmers have with the contentious laws, how can a parallel meeting with the agriculture minister be fruitful?” said a senior agriculture ministry official.

The government has categorically refused to give in to the farmers’ demand of repealing the three farm laws deregulating the sale of crops. However, the protesting farmers’ unions have said they would not appear before the panel set up by the apex court on Tuesday and alleged that in any case the panel comprised only known pro-laws experts. “Farmer unions are not willing to settle on anything less than repealing the laws, which the government can’t do. So, even if talks happen, it would be a futile exercise,” said the official.


The government has nothing more to offer to the farmers’ unions, said the official. “We had proposed amendments to the laws on the basis of preliminary discussions, but the unions turned down the proposal. Now we are preparing to present our arguments in support of laws before the committee. We will take a call on whatever the committee decides,” he said.

SC has directed the committee to start working within 10 days and submit a report within two months of the first sitting.

“Farmers’ unions may present their grievances before the committee, which will then hear us out before submitting the report,” said the official.
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Meanwhile, the minister of state for agriculture, Kailash Choudhary, urged the farmers’ unions to appear before the committee. “The committee is fair. Protesting farmers should trust the Supreme Court. I don’t know who they trust. They don’t trust the government. They don’t trust the farmers supporting the laws, and now they don’t trust the committee,” he said.
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