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Govt writes to farmers' unions, again invites them for talks as per their 'convenience'

Govt writes to farmers unions, again invites them for   talks as per their convenience

New Delhi/Chandigarh: The government on Thursday again invited protesting farmer unions for talks, but made it clear that it would not be "logical" to include in the agenda any new demand related to Minimum Support Price (MSP), which is out of the purview of three new farm laws.

In a three-page letter written to 40 farmer leaders, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare Vivek Aggarwal said: "I again request you that the government has been discussing all issues with open heart and good intention to end the protest, and will continue to do so. Kindly suggest a date and time (for the next round of talks)."

Previous five rounds of talks between the government and the unions have failed to break the deadlock with the farmers insisting on the repeal of the three laws and camping at various border points of Delhi for nearly a month now.

Aggarwal asked the union leaders to provide details of other issues they want to discuss. The talks will be held at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi at a ministerial level, he said.

On MSP, Aggarwal said the farm laws have no connection with the price regime nor would have any impact on the procurement of farm produce at the fixed rates. This has been told to the unions in every discussion and it has also been made clear that the government is ready to give written assurance on MSP, he said.

"Any new demand related to MSP, which is out of the ambit of farm laws, is not logical to include in the talks. As informed earlier, the government is ready to discuss all the issues raised by farmer unions," he noted.

Aggarwal's letter has come in response to the Samyukt Kisan Morcha's December 23 letter, through which it had informed the government that the farmer unions are ready for talks but asked it to send a "concrete proposal in writing instead repeating rejected proposals around meaningless amendments."

In the December 24 letter, the government reiterated that it is ready to find a "logical solution" on the issues raised by protesting farmer unions.

Aggarwal said it is important to keep all doors open for discussion for the government. It is the responsibility of the government to listen to farmer organisations and farmers and the government cannot deny this.

The government with an open heart has held several rounds of discussion with farmer unions under the Samyukt Kisan Morcha and urged them to choose a date as per their convenience for the next round of talks, he added.

Meanwhile, Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala on Thursday said the new Central farm laws need many amendments and urged protesting farmers to give "concrete suggestions".

The Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) leader reiterated that he will tender his resignation the day he feels he is unable to ensure Minimum Support Price (MSP) to farmers in Haryana.

Addressing a press conference in Chandigarh, the Deputy Chief Minister said: "I believe that many amendments should be there. On this, we have given many suggestions to the Centre earlier and they too were agreeable on many suggestions."

He further added: "I think the Centre is ready to incorporate those amendments."

On the other hand, sharpening its attack on the government over the new three farm laws, Congress leaders on Thursday staged a strong protest outside the party headquarters here after they were prevented from marching towards Rashtrapati Bhawan.

Congress leaders Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and party MPs and leaders staged a sit-in protest outside their office and were detained by the Delhi Police for violating prohibitory orders.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad and leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury later met President Ram Nath Kovind and demanded the withdrawal of the three farm laws.

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