The seventh round of talks between the Centre and farmer unions over the three farm laws on Monday could not ensure any headway. The next round of talks will take place on January 8.
Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Railways, Commerce and Food Minister Piyush Goyal and Minister of State for Commerce Som Parkash, who is an MP from Punjab, held the talks with the representatives of 40 farmer unions at the Vigyan Bhawan Monday afternoon.
The meeting began with paying respects to the farmers who lost their lives during the ongoing protest, a PTI report said.
On December 30 when farmers and the government had resumed the talks, the government had agreed to their two demands on power tariff and penalties for stubble burning. The remaining two demands of repealing the three laws and a law on the MSP didn't figure in the talks.
Meanwhile, representatives of farmer unions said that they will have to take firm steps if the government does not take a decision in their favour. Unions have warned that they will start shutting all malls and petrol pumps in Haryana if the government fails to resolve their main demands for the repeal of three new farm laws and a legal guarantee for MSP in the meeting.
Swaraj India leader Yogendra Yadav said that the government has not moved an inch on the two main issues -- repeal of three agri laws and legal guarantee for MSP. He claimed that the government has denied giving in-principle commitment to the issue of legal guarantee for MSP. Spelling out their next course of action, Yadav said that while talks with the Union government will go on, farmer unions will intensify the protest simultaneously and take it to every corner of the country.
According to the unions, if the results of the talks on January 4 are not satisfactory, a tractor march will be taken out from the protest site to the Kundli–Manesar–Palwal (KMP) Expressway on January 6 and a call will also be given to those farmers protesting at Shahjahanpur on the Haryana-Rajasthan border to move towards the national capital. Rallies, dharnas, sit-ins and press conferences will be ogranised across the country from January 6 to January 20 to counter alleged government propaganda that the protest was Punjab-centric.
Thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab and Haryana, are protesting at various borders of Delhi for more than a month against the three new laws. The government has presented these laws as major agriculture reforms aimed at helping farmers and increasing their income, but the protesting unions fear that the new legislations have left them at the mercy of big corporates by weakening the MSP and mandi systems.