As the farmers continue to protest at Delhi-NCR border braving the winters and thunderstorms, the Centre had called the representative of farmer union for a fresh round of talks today. In what is seen as the eighth round of talks, efforts were made to reach a mutual agreement on the two core demands put forth by the protestors, i.e repeal of new farm laws and legal guarantee on minimum support price.
In a bid to make the Centre concede their demands, the farmer unions had already announced a tractor march on January 26. A glimpse of which, was seen on Thursday as thousands of farmers headed towards Delhi via Ghaziabad and Manesar in their tractors. Speaking about the rehearsal march, one of the farmers expressed that they will protest against the government and showcase that they are united and won’t back down.
Amid the no-deal situation, the Supreme Court recently expressed concerned over mass gatherings of protesting leaders. Heading a three-judge bench, Chief Justice Bobde addressed Centre and remarked that a Tablighi Jamaat situation can arise at the protest site and they don’t know if the protestors are protected from Covid-19.
In another development, the World Trade Organisation, while reviewing India’s trade policy, has said that MSP are distorting cropping patterns. It observed that the practice of procurement in certain states is resulting in regional disparities and added that it is suggested that farmers receive only a fraction of the price paid by consumers due to the fragmentation of agricultural markets and weak infrastructure.
In the latest turn of events, the talk between the Centre and Farmers remained indeterminate today and the deadlock continues. The next round of talks between the Central Government and farmer leaders is now scheduled to be held on 15th January.
Agricultural Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said that the government will consider if the farmer unions present another option instead of repealing. But since the Farmers are adamant about repealing the laws and no other option could be presented, the meeting ended on an inconclusive note.
Hannan Mollah, the General Secretary of All India Kisan Sabha remarked that, “There was a heated discussion, we said we don’t want anything other than repeal of laws. We won’t go to any Court, this (repeal) will either be done or we’ll continue to fight. Our parade on 26th Jan will go on as planned”.
He added that they (farmer unions) do not want clause wise discussions and simply want the new farm laws to be repealed and are willing to fight till death. The Farmer Unions are said to decide their next course of action on 11th January.