Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar says that consensus on two issues—Electricity Act and stubble burning—have been reached. Also, a committee could be formed to deliberate on farmers’ demands.

New Delhi: The sixth round of meetings between protesting farmers and the government ended after over five hours with the Centre saying that the two sides had reached consensus on two out of four key issues. The next meeting will take place on 4 January.

Addressing the media after the meeting with 41 farmer leaders at Vigyan Bhavan here, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said: “Today’s talks were held in a very good environment and concluded on a positive note. We have had consensus on two out of the four issues… Next meeting of government with farmers will take place on January 4.”

He said that the government and the farmers had reached agreement over the latter’s demands to keep farmers out of the penal provisions of the Commission for the Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Ordinance, 2020, and to withdraw the Electricity Amendment Bill 2020.

“We discussed stubble burning and the government assured the farmers that their concerns will be taken into account. The electricity bill was also discussed… this has not been enacted. Farmers believe that subsidy will be withdrawn (under this),” Tomar said.

The government on Wednesday also told farmer leaders that a committee could be formed to deliberate on their demands. During discussions, the government told farmer leaders that a committee could be formed to deliberate on the farmers’ demands regarding the three farm laws. Along with Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Union Ministers Piyush Goyal had food with farmer leaders during the lunch break.

The delegation of farmers, hailing primarily from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, who have been protesting at the borders of the national capital for over a month, maintained that they wanted the farm laws taken back.

“Our stand is clear that the three farm laws should be taken back,” said a farmer leader before making his way to the meeting.

Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) spokesperson Rakesh Tikait was also seen heading to the meeting from the Ghazipur border (UP-Delhi border). Tikait had earlier hit out at the Opposition saying it was weak and are not supporting the cause as they should. “This is the reason farmers have had to come on the roads. The government doesn’t fear them. They should sit in pitched tents and stage protests on roads against the farm laws,” Tikait said.

Earlier in the day, Union Minister Som Prakash said that the government would go into the meeting with an open heart and mind and would try to resolve the issue so that people can go back to their homes for New Year.

Farmers have been protesting at different borders of the national capital since 26 November against the three newly enacted farm laws—Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.


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