Amid tension, protesting farmers to hold talks with Union ministers in Chandigarh

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Chandigarh, Feb 15 (IANS) Even as farmers continued their protest on interstate borders between Punjab and Haryana for the the third day demanding higher minimum crop prices and waiver of loans, farmer leaders are meeting with three Union ministers — third time — in Chandigarh later Thursday to resolve the issue amicably.

Amid tension on Punjab-Haryana borders, the meeting is likely to take place at 5 pm.

“We will attend with a positive mindset. We will again put forward our demands in front of the ministers,” farmer leader Sarwan Singh Pandher told the media.

“We are confident that a solution will emerge as well. After the meeting we will decide the next course of action,” he said, adding “we want Prime Minister Narendra Modi to have a conversation with them (ministers) so that we can reach a solution for our demands. Or else, we should be allowed to protest peacefully in Delhi.”

The leaders will hold talks with Union ministers Piyush Goyal, Arjun Munda and Nityananad Rai.

Police have erected several layers of barricades on the Punjab-Haryana borders with tense situations and the traffic is affected.

However, farmer leaders have said they would refrain from advancing towards Delhi on Thursday if there was no teargas shelling from Haryana’s side.

In the past three days, police used tear gas on demonstrators in a bid to stop farmers’ protests from reaching the national capital.

Scores of policemen and farmers got injuries in stone pelting that ensued between them.

The farmers — representing over 200 farmer unions — are adamant on heading to the national capital to lodge their protest over unfulfilled demands, including legal guarantee of minimum support prices (MSP) of crops, waiver of farm loans and criminal cases against those protesting farm laws be dropped.

After the second round of talks with farmer union leaders remained “inconclusive” late Monday, Union Minister Munda said the government is still open to discuss their demands.



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