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Reply to our demands by today: Punjab farm leaders to Centre

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New Delhi, Nov 30: Terming the repeal of the farm laws in Parliament a victory of the protesters, farmer leaders from Punjab urged the Centre to decide on their other demands, including legal guarantee of minimum support price for crops, in the session on Tuesday.

They also said that the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) has called an emergency meeting on Wednesday to discuss the future course of action.

Reply to our demands by today: Punjab farm leaders to Centre

The SKM, an umbrella body of 40 farmer unions, rued that there was no discussion on the Farm Laws Repeal Bill 2021 when it was passed in both Houses of Parliament on Monday, PTI said.

"This is a victory for us and a historic day. We want withdrawal of cases against the farmers. We want a committee to be formed on the legal guarantee of minimum support price (MSP) for crops. The Centre has time till tomorrow (Tuesday) to reply to our demands. We have called an emergency meeting of SKM on Wednesday to discuss the future course of action," the farmer leaders said in a press conference on Monday.

Meanwhile, celebrations broke out at protest sites at three borders of Delhi - Singhu, Ghazipur and Tikri - as farmers danced to the tunes of Bhangra and Punjabi songs.

At Singhu, the protesters showered flower petals at each other to celebrate the "victory of the movement".

The SKM, in a statement, said the repeal of farm laws is the first major victory of the farmers' movement, but other important demands are still pending.

"History has been made today in India when the anti-farmer central farm laws got repealed. However, the development was marred by the fact that there was no debate allowed on the Bill tabled to repeal the three laws," it said.

The farmers body said the laws were brought in first as ordinances in June 2020 and later as full-fledged legislations in September 2020, but "ironically, without any debate allowed at that time too".

The Bill to repeal the three contentious agricultural laws, against which farmers have been protesting for over a year, was passed within minutes of its introduction in both the Houses of Parliament on the first day of the winter session on Monday.

The SKM also demanded compensation for farmers who died during the movement.

"The Centre should reply to our demands in Parliament tomorrow," the farm leaders said.

Sources hinted that if the government expressed its intention or gave guarantee to consider the farmers' remaining demands, the agitation might be called off.

However, they maintained that any final decision in this connection will be taken by the SKM in its emergency meeting.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on November 19 announced that the three farm legislations would be repealed.

The three laws are Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act; The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act; and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act.

The repeal of the three legislations had been one of the key demands of around 40 farmer unions protesting at various Delhi border points since November 26, 2020.

On November 21, the SKM had written to the prime minister to immediately resume talks on the farmers' six demands, including legal guarantee for procurement of crops at MSP.

"Investments for an MSP guarantee law are very much within the practical power of the Union Government, and will come back as revenues as soon as rural economy receives a boost from such a law.

"On another demand related to withdrawal of cases filed against protesting farmers, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar indicated that he will do as per the Centre's instructions. This vindicates what SKM has been saying," the SKM statement said on Monday.

It said with regard to such cases filed in Delhi and Chandigarh, the Centre has a direct say.

"While in the BJP-ruled states of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Madhya Pradesh where many cases have been filed, the Union Government''s decision is awaited," the statement added.

(PTI)

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