Claiming that the majority of the farmers support the contentious farm laws, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar said the 10th round of talks between the Centre and protesting farmers will be held on Tuesday.
Supreme Court’s verdict, which came out this week, placed a temporary stay on the implementation of the laws as the top court said it was “extremely disappointed” with the government’s handling of the matter, further adding that “no solution was in sight” despite the many rounds of discussions.
In a bid to stop the already 53-day strong protest of the farmers, the apex court formed a committee, which it said will be carrying out the negotiations with stakeholders. However, the move was rejected by the farmers as all the members of the committee as pro-farm laws.
The Agriculture Minister was quoted speaking on the issue, “Most of the farmers and experts are in favour of farm laws. After the Supreme Court’s order, the laws can’t be implemented.”
“Now we expect that the farmers discuss the laws clause-wise on January 19 and tell the government what they want other than the repeal of the laws,” Mr. Tomar said, repeating the Centre’s stance where it demanded a clause-by-clause discussion of the laws, unwilling to repeal them completely.
He added that the government-furnished an offer to the agriculturists through which “we (the Centre) agreed to address their apprehensions regarding mandis, traders’ registration and other things”.
“The government had also agreed to discuss the laws on stubble burning and electricity but the farmers‘ unions only want the repeal of the laws,” the minister said. He was directing at the 9 rounds of talks that have run into a deadlock without any resolution. The Centre, meanwhile, has agreed to repeal the penal provisions in the stubble burning ordinance and the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2019.
The SC, prior to the formation of the committee, had said that the farmers’ unions would accept none of the offers presented by the government.
Following the announcement of the court, farmers said they will continue their protests, accusing the government of managing the committee instead of the issue being resolved by an unbiased entity.
However, expressing his concern to not “compromise farmers’ interests”, Bhupinder Singh Mann, one of the members of the SC formed committee has stepped down from the panel.
On Monday, the top court will hear the petition against the farmers’ tractor rally scheduled by the groups for the Republic Day. Mr. Mann’s subject, too, is expected to be taken up tomorrow.