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Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Farm unions respond to govt: Reject your proposals, stop maligning our movement

An Agriculture Ministry official confirmed the government had received a written response from the farmer unions. However, he refused to answer queries about whether the government would send an invitation for talks to farmers.

Written by Harikishan Sharma | New Delhi | December 16, 2020 11:34:04 am
Farmers' protests: Many at Singhu for a day to help out, ‘be part of history’K K Venugopal while hearing a clutch of petitions seeking  removal of farmers staging a sit-in at the borders of Delhi against the new farm laws.

Farmer unions, which are protesting at Delhi’s borders against the recently-enacted farm laws, sent a written reply to the government Wednesday, rejecting its December 9 proposal in which it offered significant concessions.

In an email to Vivek Agrawal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Sanyukt Kisan Morcha leader Darshan Pal said, “With reference to the proposal and letter received from you, we want to inform the government that the farmer unions had held a joint meeting on the same day and discussed your proposal and rejected it because it was the written format of the proposal verbally offered by the government representatives on 5 December 2020.”

Pal also asked the government to stop maligning the farmers’ movement. “We want the government to stop maligning the farmers’ movement and stop parallel negotiations with other farmer organisations,” he said.

An Agriculture Ministry official confirmed to The Indian Express that the government received a written response from the farmer unions. However, he refused to answer queries about whether the government would send an invitation for talks to farmers.

The written response from the protesting farm unions came a day after Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said the government was awaiting a written response on its proposal sent to farmers.

“We are waiting for farm unions’ views on issues on which they want to talk so that we discuss again and take the matter to conclusion,” Tomar said in an interview to The Indian Express on Tuesday. The government will invite protesting farmers for talks the day after they revert with their response to the concessions offered, Tomar added.

Asked about the next steps in defusing the standoff with farmers, Tomar said informal talks were on with some farm leaders, and he was awaiting a response from them on the government’s proposal sent on December 9.

“I am ready to send them an invitation once they revert on the changes proposed by the government,” he said. Tomar was, however, clear that the government would not repeal the farm laws.

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