Hyderabad: The Centre has called BJP State president and MP Bandi Sanjay’s bluff on paddy procurement. The Union government has made it clear that it would not be able to purchase parboiled rice from Telangana during upcoming Yasangi (Rabi) season. It has also asserted that it would finalise the quantity of raw rice to be procured from Telangana, only after enumerating the available rice stocks.
Though it was examining Telangana’s proposal to procure 90 per cent of the production in the ongoing Kharif (Vaanakalam) season, it was unlikely to procure any additional rice more than 40 lakh tonnes already committed to the State. The Centre has estimated that production of rice in Kharif 2021-22 in Telangana would be 75.43 lakh tonnes. Further, no additional rice stocks other than 44.74 lakh tonnes that was committed for the Rabi 2020-21 will be procured, sources said.
Not so surprisingly, the announcement was not made by the Union Minister officially, but a joint secretary-rank officer from Department of Food, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution was chosen to ‘share’ the information with the media in Delhi. This briefing comes in the wake of Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao’s letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Interestingly, the official’s assertion is in sharp contrast to the assurances given by a belligerent Bandi Sanjay, who instigated farmers to cultivate only paddy, but not any other crop as suggested by Telangana government. The BJP leader’s obstinate stand on egging on farming community to go for paddy cultivation forced the Telangana government to challenge the Centre to clarify whether it would procure paddy or not. The Chief Minister had time and again asked whether the Centre was ready to procure as the State BJP leaders were instigating farmers to sow paddy only in Yasangi 2021-22.
In the informal interaction, the official maintained that there were adequate stocks of rice and wheat across the country. All the States were already told to encourage farmers to cultivate alternative crops instead of paddy and wheat. He also suggested that farmers should focus on producing of oilseeds and pulses which are largely being imported in India.
“As on October 11 this year, the Food Corporation of India (FCI) has parboiled rice stock of 46.28 lakh tonnes and is yet to receive 32.73 lakh tonnes. Thus, the total stock of parboiled rice would be about 79 lakh tonnes at the end of Kharif. It would take four years to liquidate the available stock,” he pointed out. Due to increased production in parboiled rice-consuming States, its movement from other States have been decreased which in turn consumed available godown space.
On the demand to allow rice exports, the official informed that a decision in this regard would be taken after considering the domestic needs. However, there would be restrictions on the quantity and quality of rice that would be allowed for exports.
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