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Citing Covid, Tomar asks farmers to call off their stir, come for talks | India News – Times of India

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NEW DELHI: Amid uncertainty over the fate of farm laws due to stay on implementation by the Supreme Court, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Saturday cited the spurt in Covid infections and renewed his appeal to farmer unions to call off their agitation for repeal of the laws, saying the “government is ready for talks” on all contentious issues to find a solution.
Tomar suggested the unions have been inconsistent in their statements, saying “Sabere kuch, sham me kuchh (something in the morning while something else in the evening)”. He also pointed to the current surge in Covid cases to ask the farmers to follow safety protocols, saying their lives were precious to the nation.
The minister’s remarks come in the backdrop of the unions’ plan to intensify their agitation this month despite a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. Besides holding various protest programmes in next two weeks, the farmer unions have also planned to start a week-long programme on completion of 150 days of their movement at Delhi borders on April 24, taking support of various labour and students organisations from across the country.
“Now we are facing the second wave of pandemic. The entire nation and the world is following Covid-19 protocols. Even protesting farmers should follow the protocols. Their life is important for us,” said Tomar in his video message, released by his office. He also pointed out how the farmers’ sit-in protest at Delhi border made the lives of ordinary citizens difficult.
Referring to 11th round of talks held on January 22, Tomar said the government had made an offer to put implementation of the farm laws on hold for 18 months and constitute a committee for making suggestions on all issues including minimum support price (MSP), but the farmer unions rejected it without citing any reason.
“We had told farm unions to come up with their own proposal and we were ready for discussion on that also…Ours is a democratic country, if anyone, be it farmers or citizens, has any doubt, the government believes it is its responsibility to clear those doubts and find a solution,” said the minister.