Centre fails to achieve a breakthrough in talks with farmers, next meet on Dec 3
New Delhi/IBNS: The farmers' representatives have turned down the Centre's second pitch to form a committee for discussing the contentious farm laws, protests against which are intensifying with each passing day.
"Now is not the time for a committee," NDTV sources quoting farmers' representatives reported.
A meeting between a three-member team of central ministers and the farmers, who are protesting against the Narendra Modi government's newly enacted farm laws, was held on Tuesday.
During the meeting, Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar had suggested the formation of a committee, asking farmers to put down the names of their representatives who would be part of it.
However, according to media reports, the farmers' representatives have turned down the offer.
The next meeting is scheduled to be held on Dec 3.
"We do not accept the government's proposal to set up a special committee. We demand that the government cancel the laws related to agrarian reform. We are not going to back down even if the government uses force. Our protest will continue," Roop Singh, a leader of key farmers' organisation Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan), told NDTV.
The idea of setting up a Special Committee was also first pitched in the second round of meeting on Nov 13. However, the farmers' union had turned it down demanding the repeal of the laws.
Earlier, the government has made it clear there would be no withdrawal of the farm laws that have triggered one of the massive protests in the country in years.
One of the Centre's new farm laws will now allow farmers to sell their produce to institutional buyers beyond the regulated wholesale market.
However, farmers and opposition leaders criticised the Centre's move stating small peasants will have little bargaining power while selling their produce to institutional buyers, running the risk of getting exploited.
The farmers, who are camped outside Delhi for several days, were earlier water cannoned and tear-gassed while they were marching towards the national capital.
Undeterred by the agitation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday accused the Opposition of spreading lies and falsehoods leading to the ignition of the protest.
Modi had said at an event in Varanasi, "The new farm laws will provide new alternatives and new legal protections to the farmers. The new farm laws' implementation doesn't mean discarding the old system."
"If someone thinks that the earlier system is better, how is this law stopping anyone, bhai?" he had added, in a bid to assure the protesting farmers that the new open market system will not mean the end to the traditional mandis and minimum support prices fixed (MSP) by the government.
"India's farm produce is famous across the world. This is a big market and it means more money -- shouldn't they (the farmers) have this in reach?" the PM asked, adding: "Now all small farmers can opt for legal protection to save themselves from manipulation and corruption."
In a first international reaction to the massive protests by farmers, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday said his country will "defend the rights of peaceful protesters".