New Delhi: Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Monday said he is hopeful that talks with farmers yield result and a positive solution is found.
The seventh round of talks between the protesting farmer unions and the Centre is being held today as farmers continue to protest at different borders of Delhi for more than a month against the three agricultural laws.
Protesting farmers who have been camping at Delhi borders for the last 39 days braving bone-chilling cold and now rains have threatened to intensify their protest if their two major demands -- repeal of the three new farm laws and legal backing for the minimum support price (MSP) -- are not accepted by the government in the January 4 meeting.
Speaking to reporters ahead of the talks, Tomar said, "I am hopeful that we will find a positive solution today. We will discuss all issues in the meeting."
Farmer leader who arrived at Vigyan Bhawan for talks with the Union Ministers expressed similar entiments.
"We hope there is a breakthrough in this meeting in the new year," a farmer leader said.
Another farmer leader said that he hopes government will take a humane approache toward the protesters.
"It is up to the government whether it wants to solve the farmers' problems or conspire against the farmers to fizzle out their struggle. We hope govt will take a human approach towards the farmers: Hannan Mollah, General Secy, All India Kisan Sabha, said.
Rains since Saturday night led to waterlogging at the agitation venues, but the unions asserted that "we will not move from here until our demands are met".
After five rounds of inconclusive talks, the government and 40 farmer unions reached some common ground during the sixth round of negotiations on December 30 to resolve protesting farmers' concerns over rise in power tariff and penalties for stubble burning, but the two sides remained deadlocked over the main contentious issues of the repeal of the three farm laws and a legal guarantee for MSP.
Thousands of farmers have been protesting at various borders of the national capital for more than a month demanding repeal of the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act.
Enacted in September 2020, the government has presented these laws as major farm reforms and aimed at increasing farmers' income, but protesting farmers have raised concerns that these legislations would weaken the MSP and mandi systems and leave them at the mercy of big corporates.
The government has maintained these apprehensions are misplaced and has ruled out repealing the laws.
While several opposition parties and people from other walks of life have come out in support of the farmers, some farmer groups have also met Agriculture Minister Tomar over the last few weeks to extend their support for the three laws.