The government has cancelled its crucial sixth round of talks with 40 protesting farmers' unions that was scheduled on Wednesday as farm leaders declined to participate, after a meeting with Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday night failed to break the deadlock. "Today's meeting with farmer unions' leaders has been cancelled," a Union Agriculture Ministry's spokesperson told PTI.
There was no official confirmation whether the government has sent a written proposal to farmer unions on key amendments to some of the provisions of the three farm laws. The Home Minister' meeting on Tuesday with a select group of union leaders that included Hannan Mollah of the All India Kisan Sabha and Rakesh Tikait of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) had failed to break the ice.
In the meeting, Shah had offered amendments to some of the provisions of the three farm laws in writing. But many farm leaders had said they will not attend Wednesday's meeting and that they will take a call on their next course of action after studying the government's written proposal on Wednesday.
No breakthrough has been possible in the five rounds of talks so far as the protesting farmers have stuck to their demand for the repeal of the laws despite the government's assurance to look into specific issues without abolishing the legislations.
In the previous meeting on December 5, Agriculture Minister Narender Singh Tomar had assured 40 farmer union leaders that the government is open to considering ways to strengthen APMC mandis, create a level-playing field with proposed private markets, and provide a provision for approaching higher courts for dispute resolution, while asserting that procurement at minimum support price (MSP) will continue.
But the protesting farmer unions' leaders are insisting that the laws must be scrapped. On December 7, a group of 20 progressive farmers from Haryana submitted to the government a memorandum demanding that the government consider amendments as suggested by the protesting farmers unions but not repeal them.
Tomar had told these progressive farmers backing these legislations that these measures will benefit the peasantry and the agriculture sector and that the government will handle such agitations.