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No breakthrough in farmer-govt meeting

November 14, 2020 05:44 AM


No breakthrough in farmer-govt meeting
Zia Haq

New Delhi : Representatives of farmers from Punjab who are protesting a set of laws enacted to liberalise the farm sector held talks on Friday with agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar and railways, food and consumer affairs minister Piyush Goyal, but the seven-hour-long negotiations did not result in any breakthrough ahead of a planned march to the national capital on November 26 by thousands of cultivators.

Food bowl Punjab is at the centre stage of a farmers’ agitation against three laws enacted on September 24 that open up agricultural markets in the country and bring sweeping reforms to the farm sector, which supports nearly half the population.

Food secretary Sudhanshu Pandey on November 10 invited leaders of at least 30 farmers’ bodies, including constituents of the All-India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKCC), an umbrella platform spearheading the protests, for talks with the two ministers, in an attempt to end a politically challenging farmers’ uprising.

People familiar with the developments said that, at the meeting, held at Vigyan Bhawan, participating farm leaders demanded an outright repeal of the three laws and a roll-back of the reforms; a legislation guaranteeing minimum support prices (MSP); the resumption of goods train services in Punjab; the pending Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2020 be sent to a select committee; and the repeal of an air pollution ordinance for the national Capital that aims to crack down on farm stub- ble fires.

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