SC-appointed panel to hold first meeting with farmers on Jan 21

Source: PTI | Published on 19th January 2021, 7:59 PM | National News |

New Delhi : The Supreme Court-appointed committee on the three new farm laws will hold its first meeting with farmers on January 21, said panel member Anil Ghanwat on Tuesday.

During a press conference here, Ghanwat said the biggest challenge before the committee is to convince the agitating farmers to discuss the matter.

"It has been decided that the first meeting with farmers will be held on January 21. The physical meeting will be held with those organisations who want to meet us in person. Video conferencing will be held with those who can't come to us," Ghanwat said.

"If the government wants to come and speak with us, we welcome it. We will hear the Government side, too. The biggest challenge is to convince the agitating farmers to come and speak with us, we will try our level best," he added.

On January 12, the Supreme Court stayed the implementation of the Centre's three farm laws and asked the committee formed by it, concerning the laws, to submit its report within two months. The committee has been directed to hold a dialogue with farmers and submit its recommendations pertaining to the farm laws within two months from the date of its first sitting.

After the press conference, the other two members of the committee talked to ANI and said they will remain neutral and resolve the impasse between the government and the farmers.

"'When we get this kind of responsibility, we have to work impartially. Will work fairly. We do not have to give our views. We have to present the views of the farmer unions before the Supreme Court," Dr PK Joshi, member of the committee said.

"We will request the agitating farmers that we want to talk to them. We have started our work and we will try to meet them, convince them," he added.

Another member of the committee, agriculture economist Ashok Gulati said, "We will talk to all the stakeholders. We will talk to those who are opposing and supporting the farm laws. We will put the farmer unions views before the apex court, if they will tell us about their opinions to us. We will also talk to state governments."

The committee consisted of Bhartiya Kisan Union President Bhupinder Singh Mann, Shetkari Sanghatana president Anil Ghanwat, and agri-economists Ashok Gulati and Pramod Kumar Joshi. However, shortly after it was formed, Bhupinder Singh recused himself from the committee and said "I will always stand with my farmers and Punjab".

The leaders of farmers' unions rejected the committee, saying their members were already in favour of the farm laws.

The central government has postponed the 10th round of scheduled talks with the protesting farmers' representatives to January 20, informed the Agriculture Ministry on Monday. The meeting was earlier scheduled for Tuesday, January 19 and now it will be held on Wednesday at Vigyan Bhavan at 2 pm.

Farmers have been protesting on the different borders of the national capital since November 26 against the three newly enacted farm laws - Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; the Farmers Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and farm Services Act 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. 

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