Farmer union leaders to meet; decide on govt’s invite for another set of talks

The government’s letter to 40 union leaders has been termed as ‘time-pass tactics’ by farmer unions as thousands of farmers continue to protest

Farmer leaders protesting at the borders of Delhi. File Photo: PTI

As farmers’ protest against three farm laws entered the 27th day, farmer union leaders are set to meet today (December 22) to discuss a plan of action after the government invited for another round of talks.

On Monday, the farmers held a relay hunger strike at various protest sites in batches of 11.

In the letter to 40 union leaders, the Joint Secretary in the Union Agriculture Ministry, Vivek Aggarwal, on Sunday, asked them to specify their concerns over its earlier proposal of amendments in the laws and choose a convenient date for the next round of talks so that the ongoing agitation could end at the earliest.

Related News: Farm laws not arbitrary, willing to allay farmers’ fears, says Modi

The sixth round of talks on December 9 was cancelled following a deadlock with the farmer unions refusing to budge from their demand for repealing the three laws.

Asked about the letter, Jamhoori Kisan Sabha general secretary Kulwant Singh Sandhu called it “time-pass tactics”.

“They have just given a 5-page letter describing what happened in earlier meetings. This is time-pass tactics,” he was quoted as saying by The Indian Express.

On Tuesday, Kisan Ekta Manch shared images of farmers sleeping on roads braving cold weather. It wrote, “Shivering Cold ! Farmers are forced to sleep on the roads for their rights. What kind of democracy is this ? #FarmersProtest #DigitalKisan (sic).”

Also it shared a photo of a 62-year-old woman driving a jeep along with others and captioned it, “62 Year old Manjeet Kaur, drove from Patiala to #SinghuBorder to join protest. #FarmersProtest #KisanAandolan (sic).”

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Raghav Chadha said the Narendra Modi government seems to be in an “ego clash” with farmers. He asked the Centre to repeal all the three “black laws”.

“Modi government seems to be in this ego clash with farmers. Demands of Indian farmers are reasonable. Centre must let go of this ego and agree to all demands of farmers. No resolution seems to be in sight. The government must repeal 3 black laws with immediate effect,” he told news agency ANI.

Thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and some other states are protesting against the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act.

Owing to ongoing agitation, the Delhi Traffic Police said the Singhu, Auchandi, Piau Maniyari, and Mangesh borders are closed.

It advised commuters to take alternative routes through the Lampur, Safiabad Saboli and Singhu school toll tax borders.

Police said that as traffic has been diverted from Mukarba and the GTK road, people are suggested to avoid Outer Ring Road, the GTK road and National Highway (NH) 44.

Those travelling to Haryana can go through the Jharoda (only single carriageway), Daurala, Kapashera, Badusarai, Rajokri NH-8, Bijwasan-Bajghera, Palam Vihar and Dundahera borders.

According to the traffic police, Tikri and Dhansa borders are also closed for traffic but the Jhatikara border was open only for two-wheelers and pedestrians.

At the Chilla border, the Delhi to Noida carriageway is open for traffic. The Noida to Delhi carriageway is, however, closed.

The Ghazipur border was also closed for traffic movement.

(With inputs from PTI)