Hyderabad: Launching a scathing attack on the Centre for imposing restrictions on paddy procurement, Finance Minister T Harish Rao on Friday laid bare the double standards of the BJP leadership.
“While the Centre is refusing to purchase paddy procured by the State at a rate more than Minimum Support Price (MSP), Union Minister G Kishan Reddy and other BJP leaders are demanding that the State government give incentive for fine paddy varieties,” Harish Rao pointed out, bringing out the contradictions in the BJP stand.
The Minister, speaking after launching a cotton procurement centre of the Cotton Corporation of India (FCI) at Gajwel market yard, challenged Kishan Reddy to bring pressure on the Centre to withdraw its letter written to States imposing restrictions on paddy procurement. He released the Centre’s letter to the media and blamed it for rendering the State government helpless in paying remunerative price to farmers for paddy.
“On September 17, the Centre wrote a letter to all the States categorically stating that it will not procure paddy and rice from States which purchase them from farmers at rates higher than the MSP of Rs 1,888 per quintal fixed by it. Due to the Centre’s policies, the State government is unable to pay remunerative price and support our farmers,” he said.
Citing the Centre’s letter, the Minister ridiculed Kishan Reddy for the double standards, pointing out that while the Centre issued letter imposing restrictions on paddy purchase and its pricing, the latter, a Minister at the Centre, was trying to blame the State government for it. He also pointed out that total paddy yield during the current Vaanakalam season was about 87.84 lakh tonnes and the total consumption in the State was only 26 lakh tonnes.
“Our production is three times more than our consumption. If the Centre refuses to purchase the excess yield, what will be the fate of farmers? How can the State government alone procure such huge quantities if we pay better price than MSP?” he questioned.
The Centre announced Rs 1,888 per quintal of paddy as Minimum Support Price (MSP). Though the State government is ready to pay more than the MSP, the Centre, through the Food Corporation of India, issued guidelines restricting payment of any additional price other than MSP. Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao had recently declared that the State government was ready to pay more than the MSP to farmers for their paddy crop. He assured that the State government will come up with an action plan to ensure remunerative prices for farmers despite the Centre’s restrictions.
Telangana State Forest Development Corporation chairman Vanteru Pratap Reddy, elected representatives and district authorities attended the ceremony.
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