Ministers, farmers observe 2-min silence for 50 peasants who died during agitat...

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The seventh round of talks between farmers’ representatives and the central leadership to end the impasse over agricultural laws, enacted in September last year, began at the Vigyan Bhawan in Delhi on Monday. Both the parties observed two-minute silence as a mark of tribute to the 50 protesting farmers who died during the agitation.

Union ministers Narendra Singh Tomar, Piyush Goyal and Som Parkash along with government officials are in a meeting with farmers represented by a team of 41 leaders. Before the meet, Tomar said. “I am hopeful that we will find a positive solution today. We will discuss all issues in the meeting.”

Speaking to news agency ANI, a farm union leader too said, “We hope there is a breakthrough in this meeting in the new year.” Hannan Mollah,general secretary of All India Kisan Sabha said, “It is up to the government whether it wants to solve the farmers’ problems or conspire against the farmers to fizzle out their struggle. We hope government will take a human approach towards the farmers.”

During the sixth round of negotiations, some common ground was reached concerns over rise in power tariff and penalties for stubble burning. The Centre had agreed to spare farmers of heavy fines for crop-residue burning, as provided for in an anti-pollution ordinance, and to continue the current mechanism of giving subsidised power for agricultural use.However, the two sides remained deadlocked over the main contentious issues of the complete repeal of the three farm laws and a legal guarantee for minimum support price (MSP).

Ahead of the meeting Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) spokesperson Rakesh Tikait said, “Many issues are to be discussed today. The government must understand, the farmer has taken this movement to his heart and won’t consider less than the repeal of these laws. The government should implement Swaminathan’s report and make law on MSP.”

Thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab and Haryana, have been protesting at Delhi borders to demand a complete rollback of three contentious agri 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— for over a month. They have threatened to carry out a tractor rally in the national capital on January 26 if the their demands are not met.

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