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Chandigarh: Union ministers hold marathon meetings with farmer leaders

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Farmers in a trolley ahead of their scheduled march towards Delhi, in Fatehgarh Sahib, Monday, Feb. 12, 2024.

Farmers in a trolley ahead of their scheduled march towards Delhi, in Fatehgarh Sahib, Monday, Feb. 12, 2024.

Chandigarh: A team of Union ministers on Monday evening held talks here with farmer leaders in a bid to dissuade them from their 'Delhi Chalo' march to press the Centre for enactment of a law on minimum support price for crops.

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The ministers -- Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Piyush Goyal and Agriculture Minister Arjun Munda -- held the second round of talks with the farmer leaders at the Mahatma Gandhi State Institute of Public Administration in Sector 26.

Samyukta Kisan Morcha (Non-Political) leader Jagjit Singh Dallewal and Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee general secretary Sarwan Singh Pandher, among others, were part of the meeting, which began at around 6:30 pm.

The meeting was continuing till late evening.

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During the meeting, the delegation of the Centre is learnt to have agreed to withdraw the cases against the farmers registered during the 2020-21 agitation against the now-repealed farm laws, said sources.

The Union ministers are also believed to have agreed to give compensation to any left out families of farmers who died during the previous agitation.

The sources further said the Central ministers were also discussing various other demands of the farmers during the meeting.

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Punjab Cabinet Minister Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal, who also attended the meeting, said the state government stands with the farmers.

Besides a legal guarantee for minimum support price (MSP), the farmers are also demanding the implementation of the Swaminathan Commission's recommendations, pensions for farmers and farm labourers, farm debt waiver, withdrawal of police cases and "justice" for victims of the Lakhimpur Kheri violence, reinstate the Land Acquisition Act 2013, withdraw from the World Trade Organisation, compensation for families of farmers died during the previous agitation, among others.

The SKM (Non-Political) and the Kisan Mazdoor Morcha have announced that farmers would head to Delhi on Tuesday to press the Centre to accept their demands.

Besides farmer leaders, Punjab government's senior officers including Chief Secretary Anurag Verma and Director General of Police Gaurav Yadav were also present in the meeting.

The first meeting with the Union ministers was held on February 8 in which detailed discussions with the leaders of farmer organisations took place.

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