TRS president and Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao has asked the Centre to come out clearly with a paddy procurement policy and set annual targets for paddy procurement as requested by Telangana government. Chandrashekhar Rao, who chaired a meeting with the TRS Legislative Party in Hyderabad, also asked the Union government to decide the fate of 5 lakh tonnes rice pending for procurement in Telangana in the last Yasangi (Rabi) season. The Government must also clearly state the quantity of paddy it would procure for the current Vaanakalam (Kharif) season and also the upcoming Yasangi season, he demanded.
Irked over what he termed as Centre’s double-standards in paddy procurement from different States, the TRSLP decided to stage a ‘Maha Dharna’ at Indira Park on Thursday. The Cabinet Ministers along with MLAs, MLCs, MPs, ZP chairpersons and other elected representatives along with Rythu Bandhu Samithi chairpersons, will participate in the protests. The protests will be organised from 11 am to 2 pm. After the demonstratin, the TRS elected representatives will submit a memorandum to Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan drawing attention of the Union government to the paddy procurement issue.
Further, the Chief Minister said he would write to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and also Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Piyush Goyal concerned on Wednesday seeking clarity on the paddy that would be purchased by the Centre through the Food Corporation of India (FCI) during an year. If there is no response, the TRS would intensify its stir. “The Union government cannot run away from its responsibility of purchasing the crops and keep the issues pending. It must clarify on the annual paddy procurement targets as was discussed with Union Minister during my recent meeting with him in Delhi,” he asserted.
As farmers will start raising paddy nurseries for Yasangi season this month, Chandrashekhar Rao demanded that the Centre clarify its stance on quantity of paddy procured during the season. “As asked by the Union Minister, we gave an undertaking not to supply boiled rice for upcoming Yasangi season in order to clear our stocks of previous Yasangi season. But the Union government has kept purchase of about 5 lakh tonnes rice pending,” he told mediapersons after the TRSLP meeting here on Tuesday.
The Chief Minister questioned the Centre over its double standards by purchasing paddy from Punjab and denying the same for Telangana. He made it clear that the responsibility of procuring paddy and maintaining buffer stocks to meet the food needs, lies with the Centre. The States were not equipped or empowered to stock huge rice stocks milled after paddy purchases. While the FCI initially agreed to purchase paddy during Yasangi, the Centre denied the same which led to confusion.