Farmers write to Centre, take laborious line on agendas for Dec 30 talks


New Delhi, December 29

Protesting farmer unions wrote to the Centre on Tuesday on the talks scheduled between the two sides on Wednesday, saying the discussion will only be on the modalities of repealing the three legislation and giving a legal guarantee on the MSP.

The government has invited the protesting farmers for the sixth round of talks on Wednesday. In its letter on Tuesday, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha, which represents 40 farmer unions, said the discussion will be only on modalities for the repeal of three farm laws and a legal guarantee on MSP.

The Morcha further said the agenda of the meeting 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. 

Protesting farmer unions have deferred to Thursday their proposed tractor march against the contentious agriculture laws, so that the rally does not clash with their talks.

Earlier this week, Samyukt Kisan Morcha—an umbrella body of 40 unions leading protests at Delhi border points — had announced a tractor march from the Singhu and the Tikri borders to the Kundli-Manesar-Palwal (KMP) Highway on December 30.

“In view of our talks with the government (on December 30), we have decided to defer our tractor march. The farmers will hold a march with their tractors on December 31,” Abhimanyu Kohar, a senior member of Morcha, told PTI.

He said that as farmer leaders would have a meeting with Central ministers on Wednesday, the protesting unions have decided to defer their proposed tractor march.

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

On Monday, farmer leaders agreed to a government proposal for holding the next round of talks on the new agricultural laws on December 30, but remained firm on their agenda of scrapping the laws.

Enacted in September, the three farm laws have been projected by the Centre as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove the 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.

Here is the translated text of the letter written in Hindi:

‘Your letter dated 28 December 2020 (No. 105/2020) was received. Thank you for accepting the proposal we sent for the meeting. We accept the invitation to speak at 2:00 pm on 30 December.

We remind you that we are coming to this dialogue to discuss the following agenda mentioned in our previous letter and in the order given below:

1. Modalities to be adopted to repeal / repeal the three Central Agricultural Laws;

2. Procedure and provision for legal guarantee for procurement on profitable MSP suggested by National Farmers Commission for all farmers and agricultural commodities;

3. Amendments to the ‘Commission Ordinance for Air Quality Management in the National Capital Territory and adjoining areas, 2020’ which are necessary to exclude farmers from the penal provisions of the ordinance;

4. Procedure for withdrawal of draft ‘Electricity Amendment Bill 2020’ (amendment: previous letter mistakenly written “necessary changes”) to protect the interests of farmers.

Our dialogue must follow this agenda in order for a “rational solution to the relevant issues”.

Yours faithfully,

Samyukt Kisan Morcha

— Agencies

 



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