Govt ‘flexible’, farmers stick to demand to repeal three laws

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New Delhi, Dec 10 (IANS) The deadlock between tens of thousands protesting farmers — mostly from Punjab and Haryana — and the Centre over new farm laws continued on Thursday despite a “written assurance” by the government over a series of amendments, including written assurances for minimum support price (MSP), one of the key demands.
The farmers fear the laws will destroy their livelihoods.
Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Thursday assured a government-regulated agriculture market system will not be dismantled.
Six rounds of talks have so far been held between the government and the farmer unions.
Also, the government gave assurances on tax parity and the court process, the other demands.
The other demands included repealing the Electricity Amendment Act, 2020; withdrawal of the Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2020; withdrawal of cases registered against activists and protesters; reduction in fine imposed on stubble burning; special Parliament session to repeal new laws and implementation of Swaminathan Commission report to fix MSP.
However, the farmers rejected the Centre’s proposals and stuck to their demand for a complete repeal all three agricultural laws and the proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2000.
“We want nothing less than withdrawal of new farm laws,” Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU-Rajewal) President Balbir Singh Rajewal told IANS, adding “If agriculture is a state subject, the Central government does not have right to make laws on it.”
The farmers said they will block railway tracks if their demands are not met and will announce the date soon.
“We will block railway tracks if our demands are not met. We will decide on the date and announce it soon,” another farmer leader Boota Singh said.
He said the Centre has admitted that laws have been made for traders.
Buta Singh Burjgill, President of the farmer organisation BKU Ekta Dakaunda said the farmers would stage a protest in front of the toll barriers on December 12 and two days later there will be protests in front of all Deputy Commissioners’ offices.
At the same time, the farmers were ready to continue with the discussion with the Centre.
“We are not responsible for the deadlock. The government is responsible for it,” said a statement by BKU Ekta Dakaunda.
“The government is ready to consider with an open mind any provision in the new laws where farmers have any issues and we want to clarify all their apprehensions,” assured Tomar.

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