The Samyukta Kisan Morcha on Wednesday said that a consensus has been reached over a revised draft proposal of the Centre on their pending demands and it will now meet on Thursday to decide the future course of the movement, even as its leaders demanded a formal communication on government letterhead.
Sources in the farmers' umbrella body indicated that once unions receive a formal communication from the government on the agreed fresh draft proposal, the farmers' agitation, which had started at the three Delhi border points -- Singhu, Ghazipur and Tikri -- on November 26 last year, will be ended soon.
Farmer leader and SKM core committee member Gurnam Singh Chaduni said that the earlier draft from the central government on pending demands was not acceptable to them following which a fresh proposal was received from the Centre on Wednesday.
According to the SKM sources, the fresh proposal sent clarified that the government will include SKM members in the committee on the minimum support price and that governments of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Haryana have agreed to withdraw cases against farmers with immediate effect. Cases registered against farmers in Delhi will also be withdrawn.
"Consensus has reached on government's fresh proposal. Now, a formal communication signed on the government's letterhead is awaited. SKM will meet again tomorrow at 12 noon, at Singhu Border, to take a formal decision thereafter to lift the morchas," the SKM said in a statement after a meeting of its core committee.
At a press conference, Chaduni said no decision has been taken yet on calling off agitation and they will decide about suspending the agitation after the meeting on Thursday.
"We are in agreement with the government regarding our demands," he said.
The SKM had formed a five-member panel for a dialogue with the Centre regarding pending demands of farmers including legal guarantee on MSP, withdrawal of cases against farmers registered during the movement and compensation to kins of farmers who died during the agitation.
Yudhvir Singh, who is part of the SKM's five-member committee, said, "The ball is now in the government's court and a final decision will be taken tomorrow (Thursday)."
On Tuesday, the SKM had demanded clarification on certain points in the government's proposal, including on the precondition set for the withdrawal of 'fake' cases against farmers.
SKM sources said that the fresh proposal sent by the Centre also clarified that procurement of crops on MSP from states will not be reduced.
Farmer leaders said that in the proposal, the Centre has informed them that Haryana and Uttar Pradesh have agreed to provide compensation to kin of family members of farmers who died during the agitation.
According to the SKM sources, it also clarified that Electricity Amendment Bill will not be tabled in Parliament until government discusses provisions impacting farmers with SKM. Stubble burning has already been decriminalised, the Centre informed farmers.
"We cannot say anything unless we get the Centre's letter," Yudhvir Singh said when asked about their demand to remove Union minister Ajay Mishra Teni from the Cabinet over the Lakhimpur Kheri incident.
At the SKM meeting on Wednesday, the participants observed a two-minute silence to pay homage to chief of defence staff Bipin Rawat and others who were killed in a helicopter crash in Coonoor.
The day started with an emergency huddle by the SKM's five-member empowered committee to deliberate upon pending demands of farmers and on a fresh draft proposal of the Centre sent to farmers' body appealing them to end the protest.
Ahead of the crucial meeting of the SKM, farmer leader Yogendra Yadav said that they have reached a 'decisive moment' in the over-year-long farmers' agitation against the three central farm laws.
"A ray of hope has emerged at the end of the long tunnel," Yadav told reporters.
Farmer leader and SKM core committee member Darshan Pal said that the revised draft was received by farmers in the morning in which the government has removed some points and added some as suggested by SKM.
"The SKM has unanimously accepted the revised draft. We need this revised draft in the form of a letter from the government. The SKM will meet again on Thursday 12 noon after receiving the Centre's letter. A decision will be made thereafter," Pal said.
Farmers from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh have been protesting at the borders of the national capital since November 26 last year to demand repeal of the three farm laws.
On November 29, a bill was passed in Parliament to repeal the three contentious farm laws, one of the main demands of the protesting farmers.
But the stalemate continues with the protesters demanding that the government fulfil their other demands that include a legal guarantee on MSP, withdrawal of cases against protesting farmers and compensation to families of those farmers who died during the protest.