After the eighth round of talks, the Centre could not reach any “solution” as the farmer unions remained “adamant” over repealing of three farm laws, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said on Monday.
“We wanted farmer unions to discuss three laws clause-wise. We could not reach any solution as farmer unions remained adamant on the repeal of the laws,” Tomar told reporters here this evening at Vigyan Bhawan. However, the minister said that he is “hopeful” that a solution will be found in the next round of talks which will be held on 8 January at 2 pm.
“Looking at today’s discussion, I hope that we will have a meaningful discussion during our next meeting and we will come to a conclusion,” he said.
Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Railways, Commerce and Food Minister Piyush Goyal and Minister of State for Commerce Som Parkash, who is an MP from Punjab, held the talks with the representatives of 40 farmer unions at the Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi.
Yudhvir Singh of the Bhartiya Kisan Union said that they want a complete rollback of farm laws. “The minister wanted us to discuss the law point-wise. We rejected it and said that there is no point in discussing the laws because we want a complete rollback of the laws. The government intends to take us towards amendments but we will not accept it,” he said while addressing the reporters here after the meeting.
Union Ministers Narendra Singh Tomar, Piyush Goyal and Som Parkash along with government officials and representatives of farmers also observed a two-minute silence for farmers who died during the ongoing protest.
After the meeting, Rakesh Tikait, Spokesperson of Bharatiya Kisan Union said that farmers, who are protesting for over a month against three agriculture laws at different borders of the national capital will not go back until the Acts are repealed. “Discussion took place on our demands — repeal of the three laws and MSP… Kannon wapasi nahi, to ghar wapasi nahi (We will not go home until the laws are withdrawn),” Tikait told news agency ANI.
Earlier, Tikait claimed that 60 farmers have so far lost their lives during the ongoing agitation. He further said that one farmer is dying every 16 hours and it is the government’s responsibility to give an answer.
Farmers have been protesting at the gates of Delhi since 26 November last year against the 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.
Enacted in September 2020, the government has presented these laws as major farm reforms and aimed at increasing farmers’ income, but the protesting farmers have raised concerns that these legislations would weaken the MSP and “mandi” (wholesale market) systems and leave them at the mercy of big corporations. The government has maintained that these apprehensions are misplaced and has ruled out repealing the laws.