Hyderabad: In a major relief to farmers during the lockdown period, Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao on Sunday announced that the State government will procure the entire yield at minimum support price (MSP) announced by the Centre.
The State government will spend nearly Rs 30,000 crore to procure about 1.05 crore tonnes of paddy and another 14.5 lakh tonnes of maize from farmers.
“The market price for maize is as low as Rs 800 per quintal, but the State will purchase it at MSP of Rs 1,760 per quintal. Similarly, paddy will be procured at MSP of around Rs 1,835-Rs 1,855 per quintal,” he announced. In case of millers or traders planning to purchase paddy from farmers, he insisted that they pay MSP to farmers for the entire yield. He is scheduled to hold a meeting with rice millers on Monday in this regard.
Speaking to mediapersons after his video conference with the District Collectors, Superintendents of Police and other officials at Pragathi Bhavan here, Rao said the district coordination committees led by the respective Collectors would convene a meeting and finalise the schedule for procurement of paddy, maize and other crops.
“We have closed all markets to avoid crowds due to COVID-19. Entire yield will be procured by the government directly from farmers through village procurement centres over a period of 45 days,” he said.
The Chief Minister insisted that farmers maintain restraint and practice self-discipline during paddy procurement. “Tokens will be issued to each farmer to bring their produce to the local procurement centre. In case, a farmer decides to bring paddy in advance, it will not be purchased by the government. The idea is to avoid crowds which could spread coronavirus,” he added.
Farmers were advised to bring their bank passbook and account number where the amount would be transferred directly into the bank accounts of farmers at a later date. Rao stated that lot of arrangements were being made for harvesting, procurement, milling and storage of paddy.
With majority of harvesting being done by harvesters, the district authorities have been directed to identify those who can mount harvesters on tractors and begin the works. Proposals were also being considered to open necessary shops to supply spare parts for taking up repairs to harvesters.
“There are only 5,000 harvesters in the State for paddy harvesting. Officials will identify them and provide necessary passes to carry forward with their work,” he said. Simultaneously, the agricultural extension officers would issue tokens to farmers based on which paddy would be procured.
The Chief Minister urged people, especially farmers, to understand the war like situation prevailing across the world. He reiterated that farmers must not rush to the procurement centres in large numbers.
Several migrant labourers from Bihar and other States who work in different sectors including agricultural yield transportation, left for their native places for Holi celebrations and majority of them were unable to return to the State. To avoid dearth of manpower for transporting the procured crop, the Chief Secretary was consulting his counterparts in other States and making efforts for their transportation to Telangana State.
As against the requirement of 75 lakh gunny bags to store food grains, the State government had only 35 lakh bags and efforts were being made to obtain them from various States.
Rao wanted the sarpanches and Rythu Bandhu Samithi members to take the lead and facilitate paddy and maize procurement.
He advised them to remove fences and walls erected by the villagers to facilitate movement of vehicles for transportation of essential commodities, harvesters and other vehicular movement. He insisted that the officials also should streamline movement of vehicles at inter-State borders for supply of essential commodities.
COVID-19 patients in good condition: CM
Hyderabad: Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao, describing the likely discharge of 11 corona patients whose final results had come out negative on Sunday as good news for the State, said the 58 other patients undergoing treatment were also in good condition.
Stating that a total of 25,937 persons were under surveillance while undergoing home quarantine by 5,746 teams, the Chief Minister said their quarantine period would start ending from March 30 and by April 7, all of them would be off the radar.
Giving details of the number of persons who would have completed their home quarantine date-wise, Rao said on March 30, surveillance would be lifted on 1,899 persons, 1,440 persons on March 31, 1,461 on April 1, 1,887 on April 2, 1,476 on April 3, 1,453 on April 4, 914 on April 5, 454 on April 6 and 397 persons on April 7. “Hopefully, there will not be many more new cases,” he added.
The Chief Minister, reaching out to the migrant labour in the State, said there were a total of 12,436 teams working in various sectors in the State. Combined, they account for 3.35 lakh labourers and all of them have been identified, and every care would be taken to ensure that they do not suffer on any count, he said, adding that most of them were from Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Tamil Nadu.
Stating that the situation was very precarious, the Chief Minister said it was imperative that people cooperate with the government and its endeavour to contain the spread of coronavirus. “We have not faced this kind of situation anywhere in the history,” he added.
KCR warns rumour mongers
In a stern warning to rumour mongers on social media platforms, Rao said these culprits are not even aware what punishment awaits them when they are caught.
“Why are you playing with people’s lives at such times by spreading falsehoods and creating panic?” he asked, adding that only if they are afflicted with the curse of corona will such people realise others’ sufferings.
When asked about the cases of alcoholics suffering from withdrawal symptoms, he said it was better for them to put up with it than face the risk of contracting the virus.
Pointing out that the situation in Karimnagar, a coronavirus hotspot after 10 Indonesian preachers who interacted with thousands of people there tested positive, was under control, he said all precautions were being taken in the town.
Besides, hundreds of people who went to New Delhi to participate in a religious gathering and had subsequently returned to varioius parts of the State, were being traced and kept under surveillance and home quarantine, he said, adding that for instance, in Kothagudem alone, 200 to 300 persons who had visited Delhi had been identified and were now in isolation.
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