Govt says ready for talks with farmers anytime

New Delhi: Amid massive protests by farmers for the third consecutive day, the government on Saturday said it is ready for talks with them anytime and urged them to call off their agitation.

Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said that while a meeting with 32 protesting farmer unions has already been scheduled on December 3 to address their concerns, the government is ready to engage the unions’ leaders before that if they wish to.

Appealing to farmers to end their protest, the minister said farmer unions’ leaders should come for talks because solutions can be found only after the discussion.

“Farmers should end the protest and come for discussion. The Government of India is fully ready for the discussion. If farmer unions’ send their proposal, we are ready to consider that,” Tomar told PTI.

“Farmers are our own people. The Agriculture Ministry is working for the welfare of farmers,” he said.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah also said that the Centre is ready to hold discussions with farmers.

The protest is against the three new farm laws as they fear that it might dismantle procurement at Minimum Support Price (MSP) and corporatise farming while the Centre has maintained that the legislations are for the benefit of farmers.

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Tomar also stressed that the Union government is in continuous discussion with farmers.

“Therefore, we invited the farmer union leaders for second round of talks on December 3. If farmers wish, we are ready for discussion before that (December 3),” Tomar said.

Amit Shah appealed to farmers to shift to the Burari ground in the national capital to stage their protests and said the Centre is ready to hold discussions with them as soon as they move to the designated place.

“For the last few days, farmers from Punjab and Haryana and some other parts of the country have come to the border of Delhi. Farmers have gathered on the two major highways coming from Punjab near the border of Delhi since yesterday. Farmers are facing many problems due to heavy cold. Other people are also facing problems.

“Therefore, I have a humble appeal to our farmer brothers that the government has made proper arrangement for you in Burari in Delhi, where you can stage your demonstrations,” he said in an appeal in Hindi which was posted in the official WhatsApp group of the home ministry.

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Shah also said a delegation of the farmers has been invited on December 3, on behalf of the central government to discuss about detailed talks on their problems.

“Some farmers unions and farmers have demanded that talks be held immediately instead of December 3. So, I assure everyone that the central government is ready to hold discussions with you as soon as you shift to the ground (in Burari),” he said.

Shah also said detailed discussions were held in New Delhi on November 13 regarding their problems, which was attended by the agriculture and railway ministers on behalf of the central government.

On Saturday, about 400 farmers from various groups and states gathered at north Delhi’s Burari ground where the government had allowed them to hold a peaceful protest against the new farm laws. They shouted slogans, sang songs and carried flags in reds, greens and blues.

However, thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh are still sitting out at various border points into Delhi for the third consecutive day. Those who made their way into the national capital gathered at the Nirankari ground, one of the largest in the city.

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