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Centre to hold talks again with farmers in Chandigarh on Thursday

The Centre invited the farmer leaders for holding third round of talks in a week after two such meetings organised on February 8 and 12 remained inconclusive.
Last Updated 14 February 2024, 17:14 IST

New Delhi: Undeterred by the clashes with the police at the Punjab-Haryana border, the protesting farmers continued their 'Delhi Chalo' march on Wednesday.

The farmers are likely to hold a third round of talks with the Centre on Thursday. Union Agriculture Minister Arjun Munda, Union Food and Consumers Affairs Minister Piyush Goyal and Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai will participate in talks in Chandigarh.

"The meeting will be held at 5 pm," said Sarwan Singh Pandher of Punjab Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee.

The Central government has roped in Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to handle the crisis. Due to the concrete barricading and dug-up roads to impede the advance of farmers, there were apprehensions that the supply of essential commodities and fuel would be hit in states like Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir.

Haryana police fired tear gas shells at farmers at Shambhu border. The situation escalated when protesters began pelting stones and tried to tear down barricades.

"More than 60 farmers suffered injuries in the police action and were admitted to hospitals," said Kuruburu Shantha Kumar, a farmer leader from Karnataka.

Hundreds of tractor-trolleys were seen lined up at Shambhu as farmers were insisting that they should be allowed to continue to their march.

Authorities deployed drones carrying tear gas canisters, along with water cannons, cement barriers, sandbags, and tyre deflators to stop the farmers.

In light of the clashes, the Punjab government has put hospitals near the Haryana border on alert and increased the number of ambulances. They have also urged the Haryana government to refrain from using excessive force against the protesters.

Union Minister Arjun Munda reiterated the government's readiness to engage in talks with farmers' unions, and urged them to maintain a conducive environment for constructive dialogue.

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(Published 14 February 2024, 17:14 IST)

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