NRI Dunia
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Farmers’ unions reject govt’s offer to form committee to discuss new farm laws

The farmers’ unions have rejected the government’s offer to form a committee/panel to discuss the new farm laws, demanding nothing but a rollback, according to sources here on Tuesday.

Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar had offered to form the committee, however, jathebandis said that the time for formation of the committee is over and they now want a concrete decision on their issues.

The unions were asked to propose names for the proposed committee. The unions also know that agitating farmers at borders will not be satisfied with the meeting, which is generally perceived as a way to put an issue in cold storage.

Nothing has come out of today’s meeting, say farmer leaders. The meeting is inconclusive. Farmer leaders say that the agriculture minister appeared helpless.

“We knew that nothing will come out of the meeting. This was just an attempt to stretch the issue. They just kept insisting on formation of the committee,” farmer leaders said after the meeting.

BKU (Ugrahan) president said the government does not want any solution but just want to stretch it because it believes that farmers will not be able to endure hardships. The agitation will continue, he said.

Talking to media, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar called the meeting encouraging.

The fourth meeting will be held on December 3 now, he said.

Regarding the farmers rejection of the proposal of a small panel, Tomar said the government wanted that a small committee is formed but if farmers want a large group so we are ready for that.

The next meeting will be held on December 3.

While they have held two meetings earlier, this one is different as it comes amid the massive farmers’ agitation right at the doorstep of the country’s power centre.

Both sides have a huge responsibility riding on their shoulders to deliver, a reason why this meeting is different from previous ones.

While farmers are adamant to continue the protest if things don’t go their way, there are practical aspects to the resolve as well.

Observers say to carry on protests forever may not be tenable for farmers while for the government such optics are bad news.

Farmers are a huge electorate and this particular agitation cannot be equated with earlier agitations faced by the BJP-led Centre, like anti-CAA protests at Shaheen Bagh.

Farmer unions have said their stand on the three “black” laws, the newly-enacted ordinance on Air Quality Management in Delhi-NCR and the Electricity Bill 2020 was “non-negotiable”.

However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP-led Centre maintain “the new farm laws have been brought for effective implementation of the promises made to farmers. They will empower farmers and give them more options. However, those who played tricks with interests of farmers have launched a concerted disinformation campaign”.