Leaders of farmers’ unions are expected to meet with ministers on Tuesday to pave the way for a seventh round of talks as protests continue.
Leaders of Indian farmers’ unions have agreed to meet Union ministers on Tuesday to pave the way for a seventh round of talks with the government, which has failed to mobilize farmers who say three new agricultural laws threaten their livelihoods.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government on Thursday summoned opposition leaders for further talks over concerns over a sit-in of farmers on the outskirts of New Delhi.
Farmers’ unions are still urging the repeal of the law, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha, a coalition of unions, said in a letter to the agriculture ministry on Saturday.
“We have decided to hold talks and present a plan. Our plan is to hold talks between the farmers and the central government on December 29 at 11 am,” said Yogendra Yadav of Swaraj India.
Reading the letter sent to the government, he said the first item on the agenda of the meeting should be the means for repealing the three laws that came into force in September.
The government says the laws will prevent farmers from selling their produce only in regulated wholesale markets. It argues that farmers would benefit if they could buy directly from big traders, retailers and food processors manufacturers, excluding the old wholesale markets.
But tens of thousands of farmers are camped on national highways, fearing that the government will repeal the laws, eventually dismantling regulated markets and stopping the government from buying rice and wheat at guaranteed prices.
According to a letter from farmers found by Reuters, farmers’ leaders will oppose plans at Tuesday’s meeting to impose hefty fines for burning crop bombs, a key source of air pollution.
Modi has denied that the farmers’ protests were instigated by his political opponents, while the main opposition Congress leader, Rahul Gandhi, has accused the Prime Minister of introducing laws to help a few business people.
Local media reported on Saturday that Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) -led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) had lost one of its allies, the Rashtriya Lokantrik Party.
Darshan Pal, another agriculture leader, said the protesting farmers would hold a “tractor march” on Wednesday from the Singh border on the outskirts of the capital, New Delhi.
“The new year is coming. We invite Delhi and its environs to celebrate their New Year on January 1, 2021 and dine with us, ”he said.
The Singh border is the northern gateway to New Delhi from the state of Haryana and is currently packed with tens of thousands of farmers.