PM asks agriculture officials to make changes in farm laws
DECCAN CHRONICLE | sanjay kaw
NEW DELHI: A day after three Central ministers failed to convince the farmers’ union leaders to call off their agitation against the new farm laws, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday discussed with agriculture secretary Sanjay Agarwal measures that could put an end to the 41-day long protests at Delhi's borders.
It is reliably learnt that Mr Modi has told the top agriculture ministry officials to suggest changes which can be effected in the farm laws so that the protesting farmers call off their agitation. The meeting also deliberated upon the legal options to keep the new laws in abeyance till all the issues are sorted out with the protesting unions.
The modalities of the legal guarantee which the government could offer to the farmers on the MSP were also discussed. The government is likely to make fresh offers to the union leaders during the next round of talks on January 8.
The Prime Minister has been a strong advocate of the new farm laws. But he seems to be keen to end the stalemate with the protesting farmers. Earlier he had said he was ready "with folded hands" to discuss every issue with farmers to allay their fears. He had also said that any talk about the new laws doing away with MSP "is the biggest lie ever."
BJP leaders Surjit Kumar Jyani, who is also a former Punjab minister, and Harjit Singh Grewal also met the Prime Minister at his residence on Tuesday. Mr Jyani was chairing the BJP's Kisan Coordination Committee for interacting with farmers in Punjab last year on the three farm bills which at that time had not been passed by Parliament.
Battling cold weather, unseasonal rain and thunderstorms, the representatives of 41 farmers’ unions held a meeting at Singhu border on Tuesday to discuss their future strategy. The farmers will take out their proposed tractor march from all protest sites to the Kundli-Manesar-Palwal on Thursday. The tractor march was deferred for a day due to bad weather forecast. The unions reiterated their stand to intensify their agitation if their demands are not met.
The seventh round of talks on Monday between the Centre and farm leaders demanding the scrapping of the three contentious farm laws ended in a stalemate as three ministers said it was not possible to commit to a rollback of the legislation without wider consultations with higher authorities. So far the two sides have reached a consensus on only two issues of concern for the farmers — rise in power tariff and penalties for stubble burning.