Can’t include MSP in new laws, agri minister ahead of farmers talks

Threaten to block key roads in Delhi; the Chilla border on Noida link road is closed for traffic due to farmers protests near Gautam Budh Dwar.

The farmers have rejected the government's draft proposal and said they would continue with their protests till the new farm laws are repealed. File photo (PTI)

Even as the Centre is preparing to hold another round of talks with the protesting farmers over their demands on December 3, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has said that Minimum Support Price (MSP) cannot be included in the new farm laws.

“Opposition had been in power for many years then why didn’t they include MSP in the law? Why are they bringing this up now? There are some things which are decided by the administration. We cannot make laws for everything,” Tomar told India Today.

He was alluding to the recommendations made to the Congress government by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, then the chairman of Working Group on Consumer Affairs, to hold MSP as the benchmark price.

Farmers fear the new laws passed by the Centre will do away with the MSP fixed by the government and put them at the mercy of big corporates.

While the Centre has assured them that the MSP regime will continue, the new laws make no mention of the term.

Wednesday saw the protesting farmers threatening to block key roads of the national capital if the Centre didn’t fulfil their demands.

“If the government does not fulfil our demands, we will have to take more steps,” said farmer leader Gurnam Singh Chadoni during a press conference.

A day after the talks of farmers’ leaders with the central government turned inconclusive, the protesters called for a special Parliament Session to repeal the farm laws.

The All-India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC), an apex body of transporters also threatened to stop the movement of essential goods across north India if the government didn’t meet the demands of the farmers. The AIMTC which has a strength of 10 million members has called a strike on December 8 in support of the farmers’ protest.

Meanwhile farmers from Madhya Pradesh on Wednesday left Gwalior to join the protest in Delhi.

Earlier in the day, farmers blocked the key entrances to the national capital.

While the police have kept the Haryana-Delhi border at Singhu and Tikri closed for traffic, the protest at Ghazipur, Delhi’s border with Uttar Pradesh, has also intensified.

The protest at the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border led to the closure of a key route connecting Delhi with the state.

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The Chilla border on Noida link road is closed for traffic due to farmers protests near Gautam Budh Dwar. People are advised to avoid Noida link road for going to Noida and use NH 24 and DND instead, the traffic police tweeted.

Two more border points connecting the national capital with Gurgaon and Jhajjar-Bahadurgarh were also closed as precautionary measures.

Related News: Centre’s talks with farmers yield no results, to continue on Dec 3

The traffic police said the borders at Tikri, Jharoda and Jhatikra are closed for all kinds of traffic movement. The Badusarai border is open only for two wheelers. Available open borders to Haryana are Dhansa, Daurala, Kapashera, Rajokri NH 8, Bijwasan/Bajghera, Palam Vihar and Dundahera, it said.

As traffic spilt over to alternate routes, it led to long jams there as well.

On Tuesday, talks between three Union ministers and farmer groups ended in a stalemate after they rejected the government’s suggestion of a new committee to look into issues raised by agitating farmers. The two sides, however, decided to meet again on Thursday.

 

(With inputs from PTI)

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