National Affairs

Ahead Of Talks With Centre, Protesting Farmers Defer Proposed Tractor March

Protesting farmer unions have deferred to Thursday their proposed tractor march against the contentious agriculture laws, so that the rally does not clash with their talks with the government on Wednesday. The unions have agreed to hold the next round of talks with the Central government on Wednesday, but insist the agenda of the meeting should include discussing modalities for repealing the three legislations. Earlier this week, Samyukt Kisan Morcha — an umbrella body of 40 unions leading protests at Delhi border points — had announced a tractor march from the Singhu and the Tikri borders to the Kundli-Manesar-Palwal (KMP) Highway on December 30. “In view of our talks with the government (on December 30), we have decided to defer our tractor march. The farmers will hold a march with their tractors on December 31,” Abhimanyu Kohar, a senior member of Morcha, told PTI. He said that as farmer leaders would have a meeting with Central ministers on Wednesday, the protesting unions have decided to defer their proposed tractor march. Thousands of protesting farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, have been camping at three Delhi border points — Singhu, Ghazipur and Tikri — for the last 31 days, demanding a repeal of three farm laws and legal guarantee for minimum support price. On Monday, farmer leaders agreed to a government proposal for holding the next round of talks on the new agricultural laws on December 30, but remained firm on their agenda of scrapping the laws. Enacted in September, the three farm laws have been projected by the Centre as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove the middlemen and allow farmers to sell their produce anywhere in the country. However, the protesting farmers have expressed apprehension that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of the MSP and do away with the “mandi” (wholesale market) system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates.

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