New Delhi, Feb 13, 2024: A crucial meeting between farmer leaders and Union ministers ended without a resolution late Monday night, prompting farmers to press ahead with their ’Delhi Chalo’ protest today.
Despite hours of dialogue, the two sides failed to reach an agreement on key demands. The government, however, said a consensus was reached on most issues and a formula was proposed for resolving some others through the formation of a committee.
In anticipation of the farmers’ agitation, the Delhi Police have ramped up security measures, imposing restrictions on gatherings and fortifying borders to maintain order.
Here are the top developments in the farmers’ protest:
1. Farmer leader Sarwan Singh Pandher announced the decision to march after a five-hour meeting with Union ministers remained inconclusive. "We do not think the government is serious on any of our demands. We do not think they want to fulfil our demands... Had the government offered anything to us, then we could have reconsidered our agitation," said Pandher.
2. Union Agriculture Minister Arjun Munda, who participated in the talks alongside Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Piyush Goyal, conveyed optimism about the talks. Munda indicated that a consensus had been achieved on most issues, with proposals put forth for the resolution of remaining concerns through the formation of a committee. "We are still hopeful that farmer bodies will hold talks," he said.
3. The Centre agreed to withdraw cases against farmers from the 2020-21 agitation but failed to convince the leaders who demand a legal guarantee for minimum support price (MSP), news agency PTI reported citing sources. There was an understanding to compensate families of deceased farmers from the previous protests, yet this did not suffice to halt the planned march.
4. Security measures have been ramped up across Delhi and the city’s borders have turned into veritable fortresses. Delhi Police Commissioner Sanjay Arora issued an order banning large gatherings until March 12, prohibiting rallies, tractor entry, and carrying of weapons or inflammable items.
5. There is heavy police presence at the Singhu, Tikri, and Ghazipur borders, where significant portions of roads have been obstructed with concrete blocks and fortified with barbed wire.
Farmers remain undeterred by the heavy barricading at Delhi’s borders, claiming they will "break the barricades in half an hour".
6. The ’Delhi Chalo’ march is set to begin today at 10 am, with farmers from Punjab’s Sangrur leading the way in 2,500 tractor trolleys through Haryana to Delhi.
7. Aimed at pressing the Centre to address various demands, including the enactment of a law guaranteeing MSP for crops, the ’Delhi Chalo’ march is expected to witness participation from over 200 farmers’ unions across the country.
8. In addition to measures at the Delhi borders, authorities in Haryana have reinforced security along the state’s borders with Punjab. Areas including Ambala, Jind, Fatehabad, Kurukshetra, and Sirsa have witnessed the installation of concrete blocks, iron nails, and barbed wire to impede the passage of protesters attempting to enter the state.
9. Traffic diversions have been put in place for commercial vehicles around Delhi borders in the wake of the proposed protest by farmer groups. Curbs for private vehicles will kick in from today. Commuters have been advised by cops to plan their journey accordingly and to avoid the borders. Delhi Traffic Police also issued an advisory on Sunday suggesting alternate ways.
Courtesy: India Today