The deadlock over the repeal of the contentious farm laws persisted today, with the Centre and the farmers unable to come on the same page. In the seventh round of meeting, the farmers’ representatives again refused to accept the option of amendment offered by the government. Sources said the government is still trying to convince the farmers, who have threatened to hold a rally on Republic Day, January 26, if their demands are not met. The two sides have agreed to meet again on January 8.
Here are the top 10 points in this big story:
- Agriculture minister Narendra Tomar is “still insisting that these laws are beneficial for farmers”, said Sarwan Pandher, who is attending the meet as part of the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee.
- Mr Tomar said that laws “have been brought through parliament and the government is ready to amend the laws and incorporate the suggestions of farmers,” he added.
- The meeting started with a two-minute silence for the protesting farmers who have died during the agitation, the Union Agriculture Ministry said.
- The farmers were seen huddling together during lunch, unlike last week when they had shared their langar with the participating ministers – Union agriculture minister Narendra Tomar, Commerce and Industry minister Piyush Goyal and his junior minister Som Prakash.
- The farmers have been camping at the borders of Delhi since November 26, staying in their converted tractors in the bitter cold. The current spell of heavy rains has not been able to deter them.
- In the last round of meeting on December 30, the Centre said the two sides had come to an understanding on two of the four demands of the farmers – withdrawal of the Electricity Amendment Bill and the penal provisions for stubble burning in the Air Quality Commission Ordinance.
- Last month, the Supreme Court had ordered that a special committee be formed, insisting that the Centre’s negotiations have failed. “Your negotiation will again fail as they (the farmers) won’t agree,” said the bench led by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde.
- In Punjab, Reliance Jio went to court today, seeking intervention of the government as no arrest was made in the cases of destruction of hundreds of its cellphone towers by the protesting farmers. Jio owner Mukesh Ambani is seen as one of the major beneficiaries of the farm laws. The farmers have accused the government of working fr the benefit of corporates at their expense.
- The farmers are adamant that they will not accept anything less than a repeal of the contentious farm laws. They also insist on a law that guarantees the Minimum Support Price, for which the government has been ready only to give a written assurance.
- The government, which says the farm laws will benefit farmers by removing middlemen and enabling them to sell crops anywhere in the country, has blamed the opposition for the protests, saying they are inciting farmers for political gains.