Farmer Unions hold talks with Union MinistersTop Stories

February 19, 2024 12:29
Farmer Unions hold talks with Union Ministers

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On Sunday, a group of government officials held their fourth discussion with farmer representatives to address the farmers' requests, which include a legal assurance of minimum support price (MSP). Meanwhile, thousands of protesting farmers remained at the Punjab-Haryana border. The talks took place at the Mahatma Gandhi State Institute of Public Administration, with the participation of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare Minister Arjun Munda, Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal, Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai, and Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann. This meeting, which commenced at approximately 8:30 pm, lasted late into the night. It is worth mentioning that previous discussions on February 8, 12, and 15 failed to reach a resolution. Since February 13, when their planned march to Delhi was disrupted by the police, protesting farmers from Punjab have been stationed at Shambhu and Khanauri points, located on the border with Haryana. The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (Non-Political) and the Kisan Mazdoor Morcha called for this march to advocate for their demands.

The 2021 Lakhimpur Kheri violence has brought attention to the need for justice, while the reinstatement of the Land Acquisition Act, 2013, and compensation for the families affected by the previous agitation in 2020-21 are also pressing concerns. In preparation for the fourth round of talks, the SKM has announced their plan to gherao the residences of BJP leaders in Punjab for three days. Balbir Singh Rajewal, a leader of the SKM, stated that protests will be held in front of the residences of Punjab BJP leaders, including MPs, MLAs, and district presidents.

Additionally, the SKM has decided to protest at all toll barriers in the state, making them free for all commuters from February 20 to 22. Rajewal emphasized that the SKM will not settle for anything less than the C-2 plus 50 per cent formula for Minimum Support Price (MSP), as recommended in the Swaminathan Commission report. The meeting in Ludhiana, which was attended by farmer leaders Balkaran Singh Brar and Boota Singh, among others, concluded with this firm stance. The government must promptly heed the demands of farmers prior to the implementation of the Model Code of Conduct for the Lok Sabha elections.

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