Tribune News Service
New Delhi, November 13
The meeting between the Union Ministers and the representatives of the farmers’ unions began at Krishi Bhavan here on Friday.
So far, farmers have been given a presentation in Punjabi, explaining the merits of the three Acts as also the ‘pro-farmer measures’ taken by the Narendra Modi government, the promise of doubling incomes by 2022, sources have said.
In the presentation, Union Ministers Piyush Goyal and Narendra Singh Tomar also compared the MSP prices in the regime of the NDA and the previous UPA governments.
Sources said several representatives said they did not come to understand the Acts but wanted to know what the government intended to do about them.
“If we lose our land, what will we do with the promise of double income,” sources quoted the farmers as saying.
Farmers have kept five demands before the Centre, including revocation of the three Acts, the restoration of rail services in Punjab and withdrawal of the strict laws for burning ‘parali’, which include a jail term and Rs 1 crore fine.
Apparently, they also told Railway Minister Piyush Goyal that farmers had vacated the rail tracks, accusing the Centre of economically blockading Punjab.
Thirty farmer unions on Thursday decided to attend the meeting with the Centre today but in the same breath demanded that the three agriculture laws be revoked.
Rajinder Singh Deepsinghwala of Krantikari Kisan Union said it had been decided that thousands of farmers from Punjab would now move to gherao Delhi in tractors on November 26-27.
Farmer leaders also demanded the state government immediately release the long-pending dues of cane growers.
“The neighbouring state of Haryana has increased the state advised price (SAP) of cane to Rs 350 per quintal, while the cane price has remained static in Punjab in the past three years. We demand that we be given a similar raise. The state government, too, is ignoring the farmers,” said Harmeet Singh Qadian, president, Bhartiya Kisan Union (Qadian).
The representatives of farmer unions will also be demanding from the Centre that taxes on diesel be reduced, in the wake of a drop in prices of crude oil to benefit the farming community.