Talks must continue: MoS Rupala on Jan 15 scheduled meeting with farmer groups

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New Delhi, Jan 13 (PTI) The government is in favour of continuing talks with protesting farmer groups as it believes a solution can be found only through dialogue, Minister of State for Agriculture Parshottam Rupala said on Wednesday.

While eight rounds of negotiations so far between the government and a representative-group of thousands of farmers protesting against three farm laws have failed to resolve the crisis, the Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the implementation of the three Acts till further orders and set up a four-member committee to end the impasse.

However, the protesting farmer unions have said they will not appear before the committee as they consider it to be 'pro-government'. They have, however, shown willingness to attend the scheduled ninth round of talks on January 15 with the government, though they have asserted they would not settle for anything less than a complete repeal of the laws.

'Talks must continue. It is only through dialogue, a way forward can be found,' Rupala told PTI.

He was responding to a query whether the government talks with protesting farmers' leaders on January 15 will be held as scheduled in the wake of the Supreme Court setting up of a committee to resolve the crisis.

On Tuesday, Kailash Choudhary, who is also Minister of State for Agriculture, had said the government was willing to go ahead with the meeting and it was for the farmer groups to decide what they want.

Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh, have been protesting at several border points of Delhi since November 28 last year, demanding a repeal of the three laws and a legal guarantee to the minimum support price (MSP) procurement system for their crops.

Enacted in September last year, the three laws have been projected by the Centre as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove middlemen and allow farmers to sell their produce anywhere in the country.

However, the protesting farmers have expressed their apprehension that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of the MSP and do away with the mandi (wholesale market) system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates. PTI LUX BJ BJ