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TelanganaPaddy procurement: Niranjan Reddy slams Centre for blatant lies

Paddy procurement: Niranjan Reddy slams Centre for blatant lies

Published: 5th Dec 2021 9:53 pm

Hyderabad: Agriculture Minister S Niranjan Reddy turned the tables on the Union government, accusing Union Food and Public Distribution Minister Piyush Goyal of mouthing blatant lies in Parliament and misleading the country on paddy procurement from Telangana State.

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Rubbishing the Union Minister’s allegations that Telangana had failed to supply the agreed quantity of rice, he slammed the Centre stating that Food Corporation of India (FCI) failed to lift the rice citing one excuse or the other.

Speaking to mediapersons at Telangana Bhavan here on Sunday, Niranjan Reddy said the State was only a facilitator to the Union government in paddy procurement and was paying farmers in advance as a stop-gap arrangement considering the delayed payment by the Centre. He pointed out that the FCI was responsible for paddy procurement, milling, storage and even transportation of the Custom Milled Rice (CMR).

“Our District Collectors and the Civil Supplies department officials have written letters repeatedly to the Union Public Distribution department asking them to move the pending rice from Telangana, but there has been no response. They make one excuse or the other stating that there were no rakes or storage space in their godowns. While the fault lies with them for not lifting the pending rice, the Union Minister is trying to blame the State government which is absurd,” the Minister said. He pointed out that the railway rakes as well as godown space was within the Centre’s purview.

Niranjan Reddy said the TRS stands with the farmers under any circumstance. He said both Congress and BJP were only interested in politics and take up farmers’ issues for political mileage. “It is unfortunate that the BJP MPs from Telangana, do not know the difference between raw rice and parboiled rice. The parboiled method was introduced by the FCI under the aegis of the Union government and it is not exclusive to Telangana State,” he said.

He released a couple of letters written by the District Collectors and the Civil Supplies officials to the FCI seeking godown space and lifting of the rice stocks immediately. For instance, the Medak District Collector complained to the authorities concerned that of the existing stock of 3.38 lakh tonnes lying in godowns, the FCI authorities were lifting only 20,000 tonnes per month, and at that rate, it would take 17 months for the entire stock to be lifted.

Further, the Minister pointed out that the parboiled rice comprised highest portion of annual rice purchases by the Centre from Telangana in the last seven years which ranged from 70 to 100 per cent. He found fault with the Union government for refusing to purchase parboiled rice suddenly. “The country’s main Opposition party Congress, is did not fight for the farmers. Instead, farmers themselves hit the streets and fought against the agricultural laws. The TRS is the only party which is fighting for the farmers of Telangana, both inside and outside the Parliament. Neither BJP nor Congress will fight for the benefit of Telangana,” he added.

Observing the changing policies of the Union government, the State government had been requesting farmers to opt for alternative crops. He urged farmers not to cultivate paddy during the ensuing Yasangi season and many farmers too complied. He stated that red gram was being cultivated and nearly 10 lakh acres and plans are afoot to increase it to 20 lakh acres. Similarly, plans are being made to promote cotton cultivation in at least one crore acres from next year.

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