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new agri laws: Protesting farmers stay put in severe Delhi cold as talks with government remain deadlocked

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New Delhi: Thousands of farmers stayed put at their protest venues near Delhi’s border on Friday, braving a severe chill as the mercury dipped to 1.1 degrees Celsius on the New Year’s Day, the lowest in 15 years, as talks with the government made little headway. The government and the farm unions had reached some common ground on Wednesday to resolve the protesting farmers’ concerns over rise in power tariff and penalties for stubble burning, but the two sides remained deadlocked over the main contentious issues of the repeal of three farm laws and a legal guarantee for MSP.

After the sixth round of negotiations between three union ministers and a 41-member representative group of thousands of farmers protesting on Delhi borders, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar had said at least 50 per cent resolution has been reached with mutual agreement on two out of four items on the agenda and discussions would continue on the remaining two on January 4.

Security remained tight at the national capital’s borders with hundreds of personnel deployed at Singhu, Ghazipur and Tikri border points, where the farmers have been camping for more than a month now.

The protests have also led to traffic congestions, forcing the police to divert vehicular movement.

Taking to Twitter on Friday, the Delhi Traffic Police alerted commuters about the routes that remained closed owing to the agitation and suggested them to take alternative roads.

“Tikri, Dhansa Borders are closed for any Traffic Movement. Jhatikara Borders is open only for LMV (Cars/ Light Motor Vehicles), two wheelers and pedestrian movement,” it tweeted.

“The Chilla and Ghazipur Borders are closed for traffic coming from Noida & Ghaziabad to Delhi because of farmer protests. Please take alternate route for coming to Delhi via Anand Vihar, DND, Apsara, Bhopra & Loni Borders.

“Singhu, Auchandi, Piau Maniyari, Saboli & Mangesh borders closed. Please take alternate route via Lampur Safiabad, Palla & Singhu school toll tax borders.Traffic has been diverted from Mukarba and GTK road. Please avoid Outer Ring Road, GTK Road & NH-44,” it said in a series of tweets.

“Available Open Borders to Haryana are Jharoda (Only Single Carriageway/Road), Daurala, Kapashera, Badusarai, Rajokri NH-8, Bijwasan/Bajghera, Palam Vihar and Dundahera Borders,” the Delhi Traffic Police said in another tweet.

Enacted in September, the three farm laws have been projected by the central government as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove the middleman and allow farmers to sell their produce anywhere in the country.

However, the protesting farmers have expressed apprehension that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of MSP and do away with the mandi system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates.

The government has repeatedly asserted that the MSP and mandi systems will stay and has accused the Opposition of misleading the farmers.

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