Govt offers to set up committee to look into farmers’ issues; Union reps seek repeal of farm laws
New Delhi: The government on Tuesday offered to set up a committee to look into the issues raised by farmers protesting against new farm laws, as three union ministers and senior officials met representatives of 35 agitating organisations.
Sources said the farmer representatives were yet to respond to the offer from the government more than two hours into the meeting, but all of them were unanimous in seeking repeal of the three laws that they have been terming as being against the interest of the farm community.
The protesting farmers have expressed apprehension that the Centre’s farm laws would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates.
The government has maintained that the new laws will bring farmers better opportunities and usher in new technologies in agriculture.
For the meeting at Vigyan Bhawan here, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar was accompanied by Railways and Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and Minister of State for Commerce Som Parkash, also an MP from Punjab.
“We are ready for a discussion to resolve their issues. Let’s see,” Tomar had told reporters as he arrived for the meeting.
He further said the government will arrive at a solution after hearing the representatives of the farmer organisations.
Heavy security arrangements were in place around the meeting venue.
Hours before the meeting, Union ministers Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah, Tomar and Goyal, along with BJP chief J P Nadda, had held marathon discussions over the farmers’ protest against the Centre’s new agriculture reform laws.
Peaceful sit-ins by farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, continued at the Singhu and Tikri borders with no untoward incident reported after Friday’s violence, while the numbers of protestors swelled at the Ghazipur border on Monday.
The opposition parties too stepped up the pressure, asking the Centre to “respect the democratic struggle” of the farmers and repeal the laws.
An earlier meeting on November 13 had failed to give any breakthrough and the next one was originally scheduled for December 3, but it got advanced due to the ongoing protests on Delhi borders.