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Union ministers hold talks with farm leaders; farmers adamant on legal guarantee to MSP

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NewsDrum Desk
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Chandigarh, Feb 12 (PTI) 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, and the Centre is learnt to have agreed to withdraw the cases against the farmers registered during the 2020-21 agitation.

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However, sources said farmer leaders were adamant on a legal guarantee to minimum support price for crops, which is one of their key demands.

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.

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The meeting continued till late night.

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learnt to have agreed to withdraw the cases against the farmers registered during the 2020-21 agitation against the now-repealed farm laws, said sources.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.

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

One of the farmer leaders, who participated in the meeting, told reporters that their main demands included legal guarantee to the MSP and debt waiver.

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

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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.

Earlier, the farmer leaders, who were participating in the talks in Chandigarh, held a meeting in Amb Sahib in Punjab's Mohali before leaving for the city.

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

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