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Innocent Admission

Punjab farmers’ unions to attend meeting with Union Ministers on Friday

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Chandigarh, Nov 12, 2020-
Thirty farmers’ unions on Thursday unanimously decided to attend a meeting called by the Union government in the national capital on Friday to amicably end the more than 40-day deadlock over the Central farm laws.

However, the farmers were categorically clear in saying that they would not comprise with the new farm laws and would stick to their demand to revoke them to save their livelihoods.

The meeting has been called by Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Railway Minister Piyush Goyal.

“It (calling meeting) is a good initiative, but we are firm with our opposition against the black farm laws implemented by the BJP government in the Centre and there would be no compromise on this issue,” Bharatiya Kisan Union (Qadian) President Harmeet Singh Qadian told the media after a five-hour long meeting here.

The other issues that the farmers would take up include provision of subsidised diesel and revoking the recently brought Ordinance with a jail term of up to five years or fine of up to Rs 1 crore or both.

Adopting a tough posture, Qadian said “If the talks fail (on Friday), the farmers in thousands would reach Delhi on November 26 on tractors-trailers to lodge their protest against the draconian laws.”

He also said that the farmers would burn ‘mashaal’ to mark a black Diwali.

Earlier, the talks had failed as the farmers said that at least the Union Agriculture Minister should have been present in the meeting.

Punjab’s economy, which comprises 75 per cent of the farming community, is facing acute power shortage with cuts lasting up to five hours in many parts following shutting down of all five thermal facilities owing to running out of coal stocks in the wake of non-plying of goods trains in the state for over a month now.

Officials told the trains have been suspended in Punjab since September 24 with farmers starting the rail blockade campaign against the farm laws.

Earlier this week, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had appealed to the farmers’ unions to completely lift their rail blockade to allow passenger trains to ply in the state, in view of the initiative taken by the Central government to discuss the issue of the farm laws on November 13.

The Chief Minister had urged the farmers to take note of the Centre’s move to hold talks with them, and also take into account the inconvenience being caused to lakhs of people, including soldiers, who are unable to come home for Diwali due to the suspension of train movement in the state.

Ending the rail blockade would facilitate these soldiers and others to join their families in the celebrations, he had said. (Agency)

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