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Farmers Protest: ‘Delhi Chalo’ On Hold After Centre Proposes 5-Year Plan

The farmer leaders said they will study the proposal in the coming two days and accordingly decide the further course of action.

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PTI
Farmer leader Sarwan Singh Pandher addressing a presser | Photo: PTI
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The protesting farmers have put ‘Delhi Chalo’ march on hold after the Centre proposed a new plan for the Minimum Support Price for crops. The farmer leaders said they will study the proposal in the coming two days and stated that the march has been put on hold till then.

The announcement was made by the farmers after the fourth round of talks with the Centre, which concluded on late Sunday night.

The Centre has proposed some ideas to the farmers, including a five-year plan, general secretary of Punjab Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee Sarwan Singh Pandher was quoted as saying.

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Union Agriculture and Farmer Welfare Minister Arjun Munda, Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal and Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai held a fourth round of talks with farmer leaders in Chandigarh over their demands, including a legal guarantee of MSP, as thousands of protesting farmers camped at the Punjab-Haryana border.

  • What has government proposed to farmers?

Goyal said the panel has proposed the buying of pulses, maize, and cotton crops by government agencies at minimum support prices for five years after entering into an agreement with farmers.

"Cooperative societies like the NCCF (National Cooperative Consumers Federation) and NAFED (National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India) will enter into a contract with those farmers who grow 'tur dal', 'urad dal', 'masoor dal’ or maize for buying their crop at MSP for next five years," Goyal said after the meeting.

“There will be no limit on the quantity (purchased) and a portal will be developed for this," he added.

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  • What did farmer leaders say?

The farmer leaders said they will discuss the government's proposal in their forums over the next two days and thereafter, decide the future course of action.

Farmer leader Sarwan Singh Pandher said, "We will discuss in our forums on February 19-20 and take the opinion of experts regarding it and accordingly take a decision."

A discussion on loan waivers and other demands is pending and we hope that these will be resolved in the next two days, Pandher said, adding that the ‘Delhi Chalo’ march is currently on hold, but will resume at 11 am on February 21 if all the issues are not resolved.

"On the proposal given by the government, we will discuss in our respective forums and also with our experts, may be by tomorrow (Feb 19) or day after tomorrow (Feb 20). On the pending demands, the government said it will deliberate. Since the government has come up with a proposal, our programme of going to Delhi at 11 am on February 21 has been put on standby. Both us and the government will try to find a resolution through talks. If due to some reason it doesn't happen, then we will request the government to let us go to Delhi peacefully," Pandher said.

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Protesting farmers from Punjab have been camping at Shambhu and Khanauri points on the state's border with Haryana since February 13 when their 'Delhi Chalo' march was halted by police.

The call for the march was given by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (Non-Political) and the Kisan Mazdoor Morcha to press their demands.

  • What are farmers’ demands?

Besides a legal guarantee of MSP, the farmers are demanding the implementation of the Swaminathan Commission's recommendations, pension for farmers and farm labourers, farm debt waiver, no hike in electricity tariff, withdrawal of police cases and "justice" for the victims of the 2021 Lakhimpur Kheri violence, reinstatement of the Land Acquisition Act, 2013, and compensation to the families of the farmers who died during a previous agitation in 2020-21.

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