Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar (Photo/ANI)
Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar (Photo/ANI)

Farmer unions should reconsider proposal for putting farm laws on hold for about 18 months, says Tomar

ANI | Updated: Jan 22, 2021 23:13 IST

New Delhi [India], January 22 (ANI): Stalemate persisted between the government and farmers after the eleventh round of talks on Friday with Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar stating that they had urged protesting farmer unions to reconsider the proposal for putting on hold implementation of new farm laws for about 18 months.
The minister told reporters that the talks remained inconclusive.
"Dignity was maintained but I feel the interest of farmers was not kept supreme during the dialogue and that's why a conclusion could not be reached," he said
Tomar said the farmer unions conveyed during the talks that they had rejected the government's proposal to put the implementation of new farm laws "on hold" for around one-and-a-half years and insisted on repealing of laws.
"The government has maintained from the beginning that it is willing to consider any amendment other than the repeal of the laws," he said.
"We have asked them to reconsider the government proposal. We asked them that if they have a better option they should come to us. Our proposal is better and it is in the interest of farmers and the country. We asked them to convey their decision tomorrow and we can meet anywhere to reach a solution," he added.
The minister said the government has always been sensitive towards farmers.
"The government was trying to make them (protesting farmer unions) think in the right direction and for that, we had 11 rounds of talks with them. The government proposed amendments to all points they had raised objections to and presented multiple proposals. But when the sanctity of the movement is destroyed, one can't reach a solution," the minister said.
He said the new laws were brought to bring reform in the agriculture sector.
"Farmers from Punjab and to a less extent from a few other states, became part of this movement. There were repeated efforts to misguide other farmers and people about the laws," he added.
Rakesh Tikait, Spokesperson, Bhartiya Kisan Union, said after the meeting that the government offered to put the implementation of the farm laws on hold for two years and said that the next round of meeting can take place only if farmer unions are ready to accept the proposal.
Surjeet Singh Phul, state president of BKU Krantikari (Punjab) said after the meeting that no date has been fixed for the next round of talks.
SS Pandher of Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee said the "minister made us wait for three-and-a-half hours".
"This is an insult to farmers. When he came, he asked us to consider the government's proposal and said that he is ending the process of meetings. The agitation will continue peacefully," he said.
Shiv Kumar Kakka, National President, Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Mahasangh, said before the lunch break, farmer leaders reiterated their demand for the repeal of the farm laws and the government said they are ready for amendments.
"The minister asked us to consider the government's proposal and we asked him to consider ours. After that, the minister left the meeting. Since then, farmer leaders have been waiting for the minister to return to the meeting," he said.
The protesting farmer unions had on Thursday rejected the proposal to put new farm laws on hold for about 18 months and insisted on their demand for the repeal of the three laws.
Farmers have been protesting on the different borders of the national capital since November 26 against the three newly enacted farm 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. (ANI)