Eastern Times: December 28, 2020, New Delhi: The standoff between the Centre and the protesting farmers at Delhi’s borders saw a glimmer of hope when the Centre wrote to the farmers unions on Monday inviting them for a talks on Wednesday, December 30, in Delhi, to discuss the three contentious farm laws.
This comes after the farmers agreed to restart negotiations with the government in a bid to resolve the stalemate. The invite comes when the protesting framers continue their blockade of the national capital, with more farmers marching in from different states to join the agitation, that completed a month on December 26.
The farmers have stated that the talks must be geared toward a repeal of the three laws, which they say will hurt their incomes.
Talks between the farmers’ representatives and a team comprising three Union ministers — Narendra Tomar, Piyush Goyal and Som Prakash — had run aground on December 8, after the unions’ meeting with home minister Amit Shah.
In its previous letter to farmers’ unions, the government said it was ready to not only discuss existing proposals but also new demands the farmers may have.
“If there are any new issues other than the proposals discussed on December 3, then the government is ready to discuss everything with an open mind,” joint secretary Vivek Agrawal of the agriculture ministry had written in a letter to more than 30 farm leaders.
The ruling BJP plans to field other senior ministers, including road transport minister Nitin Gadkari, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, social justice minister Thawar Chand Gehlot, education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal, who will travel across the country to convince people about the benefits of the new laws.
Soon after the letter from the government, the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) is a statement issued on Monday evening said that “the government not agreeing to the full agenda proposed by the farmers organisations indicates unwillingness to resolve issues.”
“The letter of farmers organisations dated December 26, has at long last been replied to by the government today but the reply is woefully short of any attempt to resolve issues. While the farmers want meeting on 4 specific agenda items, namely
(1) Modalities to be adopted for the repeal of the three Central farm Acts
(2) Mechanisms to be adopted to make remunerative MSP recommended by the National Farmers’ Commission into a legally guaranteed entitlement for all farmers and all agricultural commodities
(3) 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 the penal provisions of the Ordinance
(4) Changes to be made in the draft Electricity Amendment Bill 2020 to protect the interest of the farmers,
The government has used vague and unspecific language, indicating its willingness to discuss the full agenda items proposed by farmers.
The statement also said, “the farmers movement continues to gain strength with new forces joining the dharnas every day. While Punjab and other farmers organizations are observing sacrifice of 10th Guru’s Children in struggle against injustice, rallies and programs all over the country continue to pay homage to the martyrs of Delhi Dharna.
Open Toll Plazas campaign, Boycott Reliance mobile service continues to gain strength. Hundreds of Tolls free. Campaign against Ambani, Adani products intensifying all over India.”
AIKSCC plans New Year with Oath in support of farmers’ struggle. This will include several hundred mass organizations of various sections of people and in each district scores of programs will be organized. People shall take a pledge to support the farmers movement and its demand throughout 2021.
Corers of Indians are expected to participate. Preparations for the huge rallies in Patna and Thanjavur tomorrow, Hyderabad and Imphal on 30th are in full steam ahead. Tens of thousands are expected to participate.
The strength at Ghazipur, Shahjahanpur has risen and on 30th a tractor rally is scheduled to start from Singhu border, the joint farmers union stated after the invitation from the government.