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Farmer protests intensify in India, talks on

New Delhi: A crucial fourth round of talks between the Centre and over 34 farmer union representatives has started even as the farmers protest entered the eighth straight day with thousands sitting on different Delhi borders blocking essential supply chains to the city.

Like the previous similar talks held on December 1, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar and Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Minister Piyush Goyal led the meeting, which was expected to play a major role in farmers’ future course of action on whether they would continue the protest or withdraw it.

Bharatiya Kisan Union, Bharatiya Kisan Sanyukta Morcha and Krantikari Kisan Union are among over the 34 farm union representatives taking part in the meeting, which started around 12.30 p.m.. They will put the demands of thousands of farmers owing allegiance to these organisations and huddled under the open sky in the winter days, refusing to budge until their demands are met.

The meeting was attended by Union Minister of State for Commerce Som Prakash and Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agarwal.

The Singhu and Tikri borders, and also the Chilla and Ghazipur ones have now been hosting these multitudes for over a week. Hundreds of farmers have almost blocked entry and exit out of the capital.

The fourth round of meetings with the farmer leaders started at Vigyan Bhawan after the earlier talks remained inconclusive on December 1.

In the last meeting, the farmers’ representatives had unanimously turned down the Centre’s proposal of a special committee to thrash out the differences and resolve concerns over the farm laws.

A breakthrough was not expected in a single meeting, sources had said, in view of the government firmly standing by the laws it has called “historic reforms” in the farm sector.

The farmers though have hardened their stance, warning that if on Thursday “the last chance” for the government to take a decision on the laws was not taken the stir could intensify further.

The three contentious laws are: Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.

Amarinder urges Centre to resolve farmers’ issueNew Delhi: With the farmers’ protests escalating day-by-day, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday said ‘there was nothing for him to resolve’. He urged the Centre, which is holding discussions with the farmer representatives, to the resolve issue quickly.Singh’s statement comes after he discussed the farmers’ issue with Union Home Minister Amit Shah at his residence in about half-an-hour meeting. The meeting happened before the fourth round of talks between the Central government and over 34 farmer union leaders started at the Vigyan Bhawan around 12.30 p.m.The Punjab Chief Minister told reporters after the meeting that he requested Shah to “resolve the issue as it was adversely impacting the state’s economy and also posed a serious danger to the national security”.

Reiterating Punjab’s position seeking early resolution of the deadlock, Singh also urged Shah to “rethink its stand on the legislations while appealing to the farmers to find an early solution to the problem”.

“The problem needs to be solved quickly,” the Punjab Chief Minister stressed during the crucial meeting with Shah.

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