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“Ready to discuss all issues including MSP, crop diversification, stubble”: Union Government invites protesting farmers for fifth round of talks

Union Agriculture Minister Arjun Munda said, “After the fourth round, the government is ready to discuss all the issues like MSP demand, crop diversification, stubble issue, FIR in the fifth round. I again invite the farmer leaders for discussion.”

On Wednesday (21st February), the Union Agriculture Minister Arjun Munda extended an invitation for the protesting farmers to hold a fifth round of talks. The Minister assured that the government is ready to discuss all issues like MSP, stubble burning, and crop diversification among others in the fifth round of talks. He added that the government wants a peaceful resolution that solves short-term as well as long-term issues of the farmers. He further urged the agitating farmers to maintain peace.

Taking to X, he invited the farmers for the fifth round of talks and wrote in Hindi, “After the fourth round, the government is ready to discuss all the issues like MSP demand, crop diversification, stubble issue, FIR in the fifth round. I again invite the farmer leaders for discussion. It is important for us to maintain peace.”

Speaking with ANI, he reiterated the government’s stance saying, “In the 5th round of meeting, we are ready to talk with farmers and discuss issues like MSP, stubble, FIR, and crop diversification. I appeal to them to maintain peace and we should find a solution through dialogue.”

Responding to a query about farmers’ response, the Agriculture Minister added, “No information has come yet (from farmers’ side). We appeal that we should move forward for talks and present our stand. The government also wants to move forward and find a solution.”

Meanwhile, on Wednesday (21st February) morning, the security forces intermittently fired tear gas shells at the Shambu border that falls on the Punjab-Haryana border. 

Notably, after a brief halt, the protesting farmers resumed their ‘Delhi Chalo’ protest march on 21st February as the farmers’ unions rejected the Central government’s five-year proposal to buy pulses, cotton, and maize crops at MSP to bolster crop diversification. 

Recent developments of Farmers’ Protest

On Tuesday (21st February), police detained 80 farmers in Manesar in Gurugram for over six hours as they marched to the Prime Minister’s residence in protest. The march was organised by the Dakshin Haryana Kisan Khap Samiti, which opted to support the demand for a law ensuring a minimum support price (MSP). 

On the other hand, the farmers in the Punjab Haryana border who are gearing up to reach Delhi to talk to the government over the guaranteed crop MSP issues, have begun donning gas masks and fortified gear to face the police. This is a week after the farmers failed to cross the border given the heavy police presence.

To avert a repeat of the farmers’ protests in 2021, authorities have barricaded highways leading to the national capital with cement blocks, metal containers, barbed wire, and iron spikes.

The demonstrators however have brought excavators and JCB equipment with modified cabins to withstand probable police responses like rubber bullets and shotgun pellets. Many farmers have made simple anti-riot shields and organized gas masks to reduce the impact of tear gas shells. They also hauled thousands of sandbags to build temporary passageways across non-barricaded locations.

Amid the farmers’ protest, the Punjab DGP has issued orders stopping the movement of JCBs, Poclaines, Tippers, Hydras and other heavy earthmoving equipment towards the Punjab-Haryana Border at Khanauri and Shambu. The order was issued after a written request for the same by DGP Haryana.

Notably, the Punjab and Haryana High Court ruled that tractor-trolleys cannot run on highways as per the Motor Vehicles Act. The court also reminded the farmers to follow constitutional duties regardless of everyone knowing their fundamental rights.

The protesting farmers demanding Centre to enact laws ensuring MSP among other hosts of demands have been camped at the Shambhu and Khanauri border posts in Punjab and Haryana since their march was halted by security forces on 13th February.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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