Karimnagar: Union Government’s yet another attempt to vilify the Telangana Government on paddy procurement issue fell flat on its face, when Civil Supplies minister G Kamalakar made a point by point rebuttal of the allegations levelled by none other than Secunderabad parliament segment MP and union Minister G Kishan Reddy. Speaking to reporters here on […]
Karimnagar: Union Government’s yet another attempt to vilify the Telangana Government on paddy procurement issue fell flat on its face, when Civil Supplies minister G Kamalakar made a point by point rebuttal of the allegations levelled by none other than Secunderabad parliament segment MP and union Minister G Kishan Reddy.
Speaking to reporters here on Thursday, Kamalakar called the bluff when he asserted that every allegation made by union Minister Kishan Reddy was an out and out lie and reminded him that the CBI was in the control of the Centre, if the latter chose to order a probe into “so-called irregularities”. Kamalakar ridiculed the union minister saying he did not appear to be having any “awareness on procurement process” and charged that he had uttered blatant lies to mislead people, especially the farmers. This is yet another humiliation meted out to Telangana farmers, after another minister Piyush Goyal advised Telangana to get its people habituated to eating broken rice, the minister thundered.
Union minister Kishan Reddy had alleged that Telangana had not commenced paddy procurement and that there were irregularities in procurement and supply of stocks, besides other issues. “Making mere allegations does not suffice. If the Central Government was prepared to conduct a CBI probe, did Telangana obstruct for such measures,” Kamalakar asked. The state minsiter also wanted to know whether physical verifications during procurement were being conducted in Telangana alone or such exercises were being taken up in Chattisgarh, Haryana, and Andhra Pradesh. “If so, Kishan Reddy should release a white paper on the findings of all these verifications,” the Minister demanded.
Kamalakar urged him to support Telangana’s genuine demands on deciding “out turn based on the moisture content in stocks, increasing duration for supply of Custom Milled Rice (CMR) and to follow the FCI procurement guidelines framed in 1965.
On the accusation that 4.53 lakh paddy bags were missing from rice mills, the Civil Supplies Minister said it was wrong. In 2021, about 40.50 crore bags were procured during Yasangi and Vanakalam seasons. In a few cases, with the bags getting torn, stocks got spilled and that quantity was not considered. In some instances, bags which had fell down during weighing, were also not considered. There was a charge that in Kamareddy, it was alleged that 84,927 bags were missing, but the fact was that they were rice bags and not paddy. A letter was written to FCI in this regard. Similarly, in Siddipet only 64 bags were short but FCI wrongly mentioned it as 1,659 bags in its report. This was also taken up with FCI in another letter.
It was the responsibility of State Government, if the stocks were in rice mills but once the stocks reached the FCI godowns, it was the responsibility of Central Government. In case, if any rice millers had defaulted, then State Government would recover all the dues under Revenue Recovery Act, the Minister asserted. Referring to the charge that there were irregularities in 40 mills, Kamalakar maintained that these “irregularities pertained to shortfall of two or three bags only”. He also said there were a total of 2,794 rice mills in the State.
On the charge of shortage of gunny bags, the Civil Supplies minister clarified that 3.57 crore bags were made available in just five days. While, Telangana sought eight crore bags, it was allotted only 4.45 crore bags, he said asked Kishan Reddy to arrange fir supply of the balance from Jute Corporation and prove his commitment to Telangana. “As instructed, when we floated tenders on GeM portal, there was no response. Why cannot the Central Government permit open tenders,” questioned Kamalakar.
Regarding duration for CMR supply, the Minister said while Telangana supplies 1.62 lakh metric tonnes, neighbouring Karnataka supplied only 12,000 metric tonnes. But both the States were being given three months of time to supply the stocks. “How is this justifiable?”, the Minister asked. He wanted Kishan Reddy to convince the Centre regarding supply of 5.25 lakh metric tonnes of fortified rice pertaining to last yasnagi.
In the 2021-22 Vanakalam season, Telangana had procured 70.33 lakh metric tonnes of which Centre agreed to procure only 46 lakh metric tonnes of rice, which is equivalent to 68.66 lakh metric tonnes of paddy. Many unreasonable objections were raised during the exercise by the Centre, he explained. The Minister said that in the last Yasangi, procurement was commenced on April 17 and this year the exercise has already begun. Across the nation, only 3.14 lakh metric tonnes was procured this season but in Telangana already 11,543 metric tonnes was procured through 104 centres out of the 724 centres that were set up.
“In few districts, the moisture content was higher. Can Kishan Reddy ask FCI to procure such stocks without posing any queries,” asked Kamalakar. Telangana Government was prepared to supply 9 lakh metric tonnes of paddy every month but FCI was hardly accepting 3 lakh metric tonnes. There was no response for allocation for godowns, rakes and vacant FCI godowns in Ranga Reddy and Jaggaiahpet, he said.
“Did any farmer hit the road, citing insufficient arrangements at procurement centres? Leave Delhi and inspect any centre to get firsthand information,” Kamalakar said to Kishan Reddy.