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Farmers' Talks with Central Ministers Fail Over MSP Sticking Point

Photo: PTI

In spite of the substantial deployment of security forces at state borders, the "Dilli Chalo" protest by farmers is poised to kick off on Tuesday morning, following the breakdown of negotiations between farmer leaders and two Central ministers. The discussions, spanning over five hours, reached an impasse as Union ministers Arjun Munda and Piyush Goyal declined to meet the three primary demands of the farmers. These demands encompassed a legal guarantee for Minimum Support Price (MSP) on all crops, a debt waiver for farmers and farm laborers, and the implementation of MSP for all crops based on the formula outlined in the Swaminathan Commission report.

Jagjit Singh Dallewal, a leader of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (Non-Political), expressed the government's repetition of proposals from the initial meeting on February 8. "Since they are unwilling to relent, the farmers have no choice but to begin their march to Delhi at 10 am tomorrow," he declared after farmer leaders walked out of the meeting around 11.45 pm.

Sarwan Singh Pandher of the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee accused the government of not being serious about resolving farmers' issues. "We tried our best to talk and sort things out, but they (government) do not want to give us anything," he remarked.

Despite the two Union ministers offering to establish a time-bound committee to address the MSP issue, the farm leaders remained steadfast in their stance. The ministers also reportedly declined to announce any debt waiver.

Sources indicated that the Central team agreed to five out of the 17 demands raised by the SKM (Non-Political) and the Kisan Mazdoor Morcha. Post-meeting, Union minister Arjun Munda stated, "We are still open to holding talks with farmers and listening to them with an open mind."

Feb. 13, 2024 3:48 p.m. 1810

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