Union ministers in Chandigarh for 4th round of talks with farmers

Chandigarh, Feb 18 : A team of three Union ministers on Sunday evening arrived in Chandigarh to hold a fourth round of talks with farmer leaders.

Official sources said the Central ministers – Piyush Goyal, Arjun Munda and Nityanand Rai, first started an informal meeting with Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann at a hotel in Sector 17.

After the meeting, they will start deliberations with the farmer leaders regarding the ongoing protest.

The Punjab unit of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of protesting farmer organisations, gave a call for day and night mass protest against MPs, MLAs and district presidents of the BJP from February 20 to 22.

The previous round of talks largely remained inconclusive as they failed to address the farmers’ demands for a legal guarantee of the minimum support price (MSP) of their crops.

Protests have been going on because the third round of talks was inconclusive despite Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann playing the role of intermediary between farmers and Union ministers.

After the last round of talks that ended early February 16, Union Agriculture Minister Arjun Munda said: “We have had discussions in a positive manner on various issues. We will have a fourth round of talks next Sunday.”

Farmer leader Sarwan Singh Pandher on Saturday said the Centre should bring an ordinance on giving a legal guarantee to MSP, a key demand of farmers currently camping at the Shambhu and the Khanauri points of the Punjab-Haryana border.

Meanwhile, the ban on Internet services has been extended for two more days in Haryana till February 19.

The government had earlier extended the suspension of mobile internet till February 15.

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