New Delhi: The protesting farmer unions have taken a hard stance ahead of their meeting with government Wednesday. The farmer unions have written a letter to the Centre on the talks scheduled between the two sides. They said the discussion will only be on the modalities of repealing the three legislations, giving a legal guarantee on the MSP, and on two other issues they proposed earlier this week for a resumption of the dialogue.
The government has invited the protesting farmers for the sixth round of talks Wednesday.
The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), which represents 40 farmer unions, wrote the letter to the Centre. It said the modalities for repealing the three contentious laws and a legal guarantee on minimum support price (MSP) must be part of the agenda for the talks.
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.
The letter also stated that withdrawal of the Electricity Amendment Bill 2020 to protect the interests of farmers should also be part of the agenda for the dialogue.
The farmers had also written to the government December 26 listing the agenda for talks. In the latest letter, the Morcha pointed out that in its December 26 communication to the government it had mentioned ‘changes’ by mistakes instead of ‘withdrawal’ in the Electricity Amendment Bill 2020.
Meanwhile, Tuesday the farmer unions deferred to Thursday their proposed tractor march against the contentious agriculture laws. They did so keeping in mind the upcoming talks with the government.
Thousands of protesting farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, have been camping at three Delhi border points – Singhu, Ghazipur and Tikri – for the past 31 days. They are demanding a repeal of three farm laws and legal guarantee for minimum support price.
Enacted in September, the three farm laws have been projected by the Centre as major reforms in the agriculture sector. It has said the new laws will remove the middlemen and allow farmers to sell their produce anywhere in India.
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.