“During discussions, we said that government is ready to put on hold the farm laws for one or one and half year. I’m happy that farmer unions have taken this very seriously and said that they would consider it tomorrow and convey their decision on January 22,” said Agriculture Minister Singh Tomar after the meeting.
Previous rounds of talks have so far failed to mollify tens of thousands of farmers who have been camping out on the outskirts of Delhi for more than two months.
The government has been urging the farmers, who are mostly from Punjab and Haryana, to end their protest over the laws introduced in September, but the farmers say they will not relent on their demands, as the bills are designed to benefit private buyers at the expense of growers.
The Supreme Court
last week ordered an indefinite stay on the implementation of new agricultural laws and appointed a four-member panel to hear farmers’ objections. The court on Wednesday blasted critics for "casting aspersions" about the panel, saying there was no question of the members being biased as they had no power to decide about the laws.
"We gave (the committee the) power to hear everyone and submit report to us. Where is the question of bias? (There is) no need to brand people and malign them, and on top of it cast aspersion on (the) court," said Chief Justice SA Bobde.
The court said it will not pass orders on the planned tractor rally on Republic Day in New Delhi and is the police that must decide. Farmers unions have said they peacefully march to Delhi if their talks with the government over the three laws fail.
(With inputs from PTI, ANI and Reuters.)
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