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TOP STORIESGovt accepts most demands of farmers, unions may end protests along Delhi...

Govt accepts most demands of farmers, unions may end protests along Delhi borders tomorrow | India News

NEW DELHI: A day after protesting farmer unions raised certain objections on the government’s draft proposal on their pending demands, the government on Wednesday, in principle, accepted all the suggestions of the protesters including ‘unconditional’ withdrawal of cases against farmers and their supporters registered during the year-long protest, and sent a revised draft which could finally pave the way for announcement of winding up permanent protest sites along Delhi borders and elsewhere at the earliest, possibly on Thursday.
The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) – joint platform of farmer unions – in turn, unanimously agreed to the government’s fresh proposal which reached them as an ‘unsigned’ note, and requested the Center to send a “formal communication signed on the government’s letterhead” so that it could take a call on lifting the ‘morchas’ (protests sites) on Thursday.
“We have accepted the revised draft given by the Center over our demands. We will hold a meeting again on Thursday as soon as we receive a formal signed letter from the government and decide accordingly. The protest is, currently, still underway,” said Gurnam Singh Charuni of BKU-Haryana and Ashok Dhawale of All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) who are two of the five leaders assigned by the SKM for discussions over the pending demands with the Center.
Responding to clarifications sought by the SKM which on Tuesday rejected the government’s initial proposal to withdraw the cases provided the farmers end the agitation, the Center in its ‘unsigned’ note on Wednesday removed the ‘condition’, and said it was agreed that the cases against farmers and their supporters would be withdrawn by UTs (Delhi and Chandigarh) and central agencies such as Railways with immediate effect.
“The state governments of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana too have agreed to withdraw the cases with immediate effect… The Center would even request the states to initiate the process of withdrawal of the cases,” said the note, purportedly sent by the government to the SKM.
On the mandate of the proposed panel on minimum support price (MSP) which the farmer unions wanted to know, the government in its ‘unsigned’ note, being circulated among protesting farmers, said that the mandate of the Committee, having representations from the SKM, other farmer organizations, states and Center, would be how to ensure MSP to all farmers.
Noting its earlier assurance on the MSP, the government also clarified that quantum of the procurement at support price would not be reduced in any states wherever it’s currently being done.
On the compensation issue where the farmer unions wanted the government to follow the model of the Punjab government to provide financial assistance of Rs 5 lakh each to kin of the farmers who died during the protests and government job to one of the family members of the deceased, the Center’s note said that the governments of UP and Haryana have, in principle, agreed on this suggestion.
Even on the issue of the Electricity (Amendment) Bill, the Center clarified that the proposed legislation would not be introduced in the Parliament without discussing it with the SKM. Though the government’s revised draft proposal continued to be silent on the farmers’ sixth demand that pertains to arrest and dismissal of Union minister of state for home affairs Ajay Mishra on the Lakhimpur Kheri incident, the SKM leaders said they would discuss the issue while taking call on suspending the protests on Thursday.
Issuing a formal statement on the government’s revised draft proposal, the protesting farmer unions said, “A consensus has been arrived at within SKM, accepting the proposal. Now, a formal communication signed on the government’s letterhead is awaited. The SKM will meet again at 12 noon on Thursday at Singhu Border to take a formal decision thereafter to lift the morchas.”

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