Farmers' groups met three Union ministers on Thursday for fourth round of talks amid an ongoing protest seeking repeal of the new farm laws. The meeting, which continued for over seven hours, ended without any conclusion. The next round of meeting will be held on Saturday, December 5. 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, met with the representatives of 35 farmers' unions at the Vigyan Bhawan in the national capital. During the meeting, Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar assured the farmers that MSP will not be touched. On December 1, talks between both the sides had ended in a stalemate after farmers' groups rejected the government's suggestion of a new committee to look into issues raised by farmers protesting against the new laws.
Enacted in September, the laws have been presented by the government as major reforms in the agriculture sector by removing middlemen and allowing farmers to sell anywhere in the country. However, the protesting farmers have been worried that the new laws will eliminate the safety cushion of a Minimum Support Price (MSP) and procurement system, while rendering ineffective the mandi system that ensures earnings for various stakeholders in the farm sector. On Wednesday, agitating farmers demanded that the Centre convene a special session of Parliament and repeal the new farm laws as they threatened to block roads in Delhi and "take more steps" if it failed to do so.
Farmers Protest: Highlights
8:04 PM: Government has given indications over MSP. It seems that their stand over MSP will be fine. The talks have made a little progress, says Rakesh Tikait, spokesperson, Bharatiya Kisan Union.
7:57 PM: Some points have been raised in previous meetings & today's meet. Farmer unions are mainly concerned about these. Govt has no ego, it was discussing with farmers with an open mind. Farmers are concerned that the new laws will end APMCs. People have reservations on MSP (Minimum Support Price). I would like to reiterate that the MSP system will continue and we will assure farmers about it, says Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar
7:38 PM: The meeting of farmer leaders with the central government concludes. Next meeting to be held on December 5.
7:30 PM: As Centre-farmers talks are underway, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has once again assured that MSP will not be touched. "MSP (Minimum Support Price) will not be touched, no changes will be made to it."
6:50 PM: The farmer leaders suggest the government that a special session of the Parliament be called and the new farm laws be abolished.
Nihang Sikhs reach Singhu border (Delhi-Haryana border) in support of the farmers protesting against Central Government's farm laws.— ANI (@ANI) December 3, 2020
They say, "Govt should roll back the black laws. Otherwise, we will continue to remain here. We are farmers too and we stand with these farmers." pic.twitter.com/9eOB3m9sAk
5:33 PM: Farmers protest against the new farm laws on National Highway-24 at Ghazipur border (Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border).
Delhi: Farmers protest against the new farm laws on National Highway-24 at Ghazipur border (Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border). pic.twitter.com/qVYUo3Inay— ANI (@ANI) December 3, 2020
5:07 PM: Protesting farmers try to break police barricading at Ghazipur border (UP-Delhi border).
5:06 PM: One carriageway of NH-24 for UP to Delhi closed for traffic at Gazipur border. Carriageway from Noida to Delhi at Chilla border closed for traffic. People may use Apsara border on GT Road, Bhopura border on Wazirabad road and DND flyover for Delhi from UP side: Delhi Traffic Police
4:37 PM: Farmers continue their protest against the new farm laws, at Dr Ambedkar Memorial Park in Noida.
Noida: Farmers continue their protest against the new farm laws, at Dr Ambedkar Memorial Park. Rajiv Malik, Bhartiya Kisan Union (Lokshakti) spokesperson, says, "Two members from our organisation participated in the talks with the govt today. We had a deep discussion on MSP". pic.twitter.com/xvRpkaE2SC— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) December 3, 2020
03:26 PM: Farmer leaders refuse govt's chai offer, relish gurudwara langar
#WATCH | Delhi: Farmer leaders have food during the lunch break at Vigyan Bhawan where the talk with the government is underway. A farmer leader says, "We are not accepting food or tea offered by the government. We have brought our own food". pic.twitter.com/wYEibNwDlX— ANI (@ANI) December 3, 2020
2:30 PM: Mamata threatens country-wide stir if new farm laws not withdrawn
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday threatened to launch a country-wide agitation if the "anti-farmer" new farm laws were not withdrawn. "I am very much concerned about the farmers, their lives and livelihood. GOI must withdraw the anti-farmer bills. If they do not do so immediately, we will agitate throughout the state and the country. From the very start, we have been strongly opposing these anti-farmer bills," she tweeted.
2 PM: Punjab CM stressing the need to protect MSP and continue with the APMC based Mandi system, urged Home Minister to listen to the farmers with an open mind to resolve the standoff quickly so that farmers can return to their homes: Chief Minister's Office
1:30 PM: Resolve farmers' issues fast, don't wear them out: Adhir Ranjan
Senior Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Thursday urged the government to resolve the grievances of the farmers fast, instead of following a "wear-them-out" policy as the protests continued outside Delhi over the new farm laws. "They have been languishing on the road under the sky and also enduring chill weather of Delhi...," Chowdhury, the Leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha, tweeted. "I do propose the govt to resolve the farmer's issues as fast as possible and do not persuade 'Wear them Out' policy against the farmers," he added.
1 PM: Maharashtra Congress opposes new farm laws, backs farmers' protest
Congress lawmakers from Maharashtra on Thursday passed a resolution to oppose the Centre's new farm laws and extended support to the ongoing farmers' protest against the legislations. The Maharashtra Congress unit on Thursday held a meeting in Mumbai where party MLAs, MLCs and parliamentarians were present, party sources said. During the meeting, state Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat and MLC Sharad Ranpise presented the party's stand on the new farm laws, the sources said. "The state Congress has passed a resolution opposing the new laws. We support the farmers from Punjab and Haryana in their fight and struggle," a source said.
Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh told reporters that discussion is going on between farmers and Centre and that is nothing for me to resolve. "I reiterated my opposition in my meeting with Home Minister and requested him to resolve the issue as it affects the economy of my state & security of the nation," he told reporters after meeting Shah.
12:35 PM: Tomar, Goyal hold talks with farmers
Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Union Minister Piyush Goyal hold talks with farmer leaders, at Vigyan Bhawan
Delhi: Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Union Minister Piyush Goyal hold talks with farmer leaders, at Vigyan Bhawan pic.twitter.com/9Mafq0zygb— ANI (@ANI) December 3, 2020
12:30 PM: "Government is constantly discussing issues with farmers. Today is the fourth round of talks and I am hoping for a positive outcome," Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar after meeting Home Minister Amit Shah
12:25 PM: Farmer leaders at Vigyan Bhawan
Delhi: Farmer leaders at Vigyan Bhawan for the fourth round of talks with the government on farm laws
Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar says, "I'm hoping for a positive outcome," ahead of meeting with farmer leaders pic.twitter.com/YeSYVUkcxw— ANI (@ANI) December 3, 2020
12:20 PM: Punjab CM Amarinder Singh meets Amit Shah at his residence ahead of talks between Centre and farmer leaders.
12:13 PM: Traffic disrupted in North Delhi
Traffic disrupted in North Delhi due to barricades placed by police.
12:07 PM: Amarinder Singh arrives at Amit Shah's residence
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh arrives at the residence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah
Delhi: Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh arrives at the residence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah pic.twitter.com/IP2Jsaei54— ANI (@ANI) December 3, 2020
As the protests against the new farm laws entered its eighth day on Thursday, the farmer leaders once again reiterated their demands as they set out for another round of talks with the Centre.
With no let up in the farmers protest against the Centre's new farm laws, the Delhi Police on Thursday intensified its security arrangements and suggested alternative routes to commuters entering or exiting the city.
11:15 AM: Abhishek Verma, SP City at Ghazipur border (Delhi-UP border) said that cops are talking to the farmers to end the blockade as this is a major route to Delhi. "We are hopeful that the roadway will be opened soon," he said.
10:55 AM: The meeting between Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Union Home minister Amit Shah will be held at 12 noon. The two leaders will meet ahead of the second round of talks between the Centre and the protesting farmers.
10:40 AM: Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh said that he is deeply anguished at the death of Gurjant Singh and Gurbachan Singh, farmers from Mansa and Moga respectively during their participation in the protests at Delhi. "The government will provide full monetary & other assistance to their families," he said.
10:25 AM: People of Punjab want peace and development. There might be a few people making anti-social statements but we should keep a progressive approach and talk in the interest of Punjab: Som Prakash, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry on pro-Khalistan slogans at farmers protest
The Government will hold point by point discussion with the farmers to reach a solution. Govt will hold talks with farmers with an open heart in the interest of the nation: Som Prakash, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry https://t.co/SKlALxW53G— ANI (@ANI) December 3, 2020
10:10 AM: Heavy security deployment continues at Singhu border
Heavy security deployment continues at Singhu border with Haryana. A delegation of farmers will meet Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar today.
Delhi: Heavy security deployment continues at Singhu border with Haryana— ANI (@ANI) December 3, 2020
A delegation of farmers will meet Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar today.#FarmerProtests pic.twitter.com/QiYq1mExiM
10 AM: Chilla Border-one carriageway from Delhi to Noida has been opened for traffic. However, other carriageway from Noida to Delhi is still closed: Delhi Traffic Police
9:40 AM: Delhi: Farmers' leaders depart from Singhu border for their meeting the government on farm laws
Delhi: Farmers' leaders depart from Singhu border for their meeting the government on farm laws— ANI (@ANI) December 3, 2020
A farmer leader says, "35 leaders are going to meet the government. We are educated farmers, we know what is good for us. We want these laws to be withdrawn." pic.twitter.com/pmw2NgZGdj
Amarinder Singh has been supporting the farmers' stir and the state Assembly had also passed a set of laws aimed at negating the Centre's farm laws -- the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020; The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020; and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill. Singh had said that he and his government were willing to mediate in the talks between the Centre and the farmers in the collective interest of all.
The protesting farmers, a large number of whom are from Punjab, have been holding sit-ins on the borders of the national capital. They are demanding that the government withdraw the new farm laws if it wants them to end their stir.
A group of farmers from Rajasthan join the protest at Singhu (Delhi-Haryana) border against Centre's farm laws— ANI (@ANI) December 3, 2020
A farmer says,"Around 500 farmers from Rajasthan are reaching here soon. PM said many times that MSP will be protected. So,what's the problem in putting it in writing?" pic.twitter.com/SVVCmHQH1f
Farmer unions claim the new laws will lead to the dismantling of the MSP system, leaving farmers to the mercy of corporate houses. But the government says the system will continue and the laws will give farmers more options to sell their crops.
Govt may tweak laws: Tomar
Narendra Singh Tomar has allayed fears of the farmers against the new agriculture reforms, a day before another round of talks between the government and farmers. In an exclusive interview with India TV, Tomar spoke about farmers' concerns, the Minimum Support Price (MSP), politicisation of related issues, and more. In a major development, Tomar has hinted that the government may give in to some of the demands raised by the farmers.
Earlier on Wednesday, Amit Shah held deliberations with Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on ways to dispel concerns over the new farm laws. Tomar, Goyal along with Minister of State for Commerce Som Parkash had represented the Union government on Tuesday during the talks with farmer leaders. The ministers are believed to have discussed the issues raised by farmers, and how the Union government can constructively respond to dispel concerns expressed by them over the farm laws.