Eighth round of talks between protesting farmers, government set to take place
The eighth round of talks between protesting farmer unions and the government is scheduled to be held on Friday afternoon as both sides look for a resolution to the over one-month-long deadlock on the issue of the three new farm laws.
Both sides have stuck to their respective positions, with agitating farmers taking out tractor rallies on Thursday to press their demand for rollback of the laws, and the Centre asserting it is ready to consider any proposal other than their repeal.
The latest round of talks to be held at Vigyan Bhavan at 2 pm on Friday is crucial as the previous meeting on January 4 remained inconclusive. There was some breakthrough in the sixth round of talks on December 30 when the government conceded to two demands of the agitating farmers pertaining to power subsidy and stubble burning. The previous rounds of talks had failed to make any headway.
Thursday's tractor rallies were taken out from protest sites near the Singhu, Tikri and the Ghazipur borders and also from Haryana's Rewasan as the unions asserted they would not accept the Centre's offer of amendments to the farm laws.
According to them, these marches were a "rehearsal" for their proposed January 26 "Kisan Parade" to the national capital from different parts of Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.
Owing to the farmers' protest since late November last year, several routes connecting Delhi with its neighbouring states have been closed for traffic movement.
According to Delhi Traffic Police, Singhu, Auchandi, Piau Maniyari, Saboli and Mangesh borders were closed on Friday as well.
It advised commuters to take alternative routes via Lampur Safiabad, Palla and Singhu school toll tax borders. Traffic has been diverted from Mukarba and GTK Road, the traffic police force said, asking commuters to avoid Outer Ring Road, GTK Road and NH-44.
It said Chilla and Ghazipur borders were closed for traffic coming from Noida and Ghaziabad to Delhi, and advised people to take alternative routes via Anand Vihar, DND, Bhopra and Loni borders instead.
The traffic police said Tikri and Dhansa borders were also closed for traffic movement.
Enacted in September, the three farm laws have been projected by the Centre as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove the middlemen and allow farmers to sell their produce anywhere in the country.
However, protesting farmers have expressed 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.