Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao on Wednesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to direct the Food Corporation of India (FCI) to enhance the target of rice procurement from Telangana.
Rao wrote to the Prime Minister to ask the FCI to enhance the target beyond 40 lakh tonnes for procurement of rice during the ongoing Kharif 2021-22 to 90 per cent of the production as done in Punjab.
The Chief Minister also requested Modi to direct the FCI to complete the procurement of the balance 5 lakh tonnes of rice produced in Rabi 2020-21. He also sought direction to FCI to conform the target of procurement of rice from Telangana during ensuing Rabi season.
Rao wrote the letter amid a raging row in the state between ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and the opposition BJP over procurement.
The chief minister sent the letter a day before a mega dharna by state ministers, MPs, state legislators and other TRS leaders in Hyderabad to demand the Centre to enhance rice procurement from the state. This is the second protest by the ruling party in six days.
KCR, as the chief minister is popularly known, wrote that FCI, which has the mandate of ensuring food security for the people by maintaining the buffer stocks and supplying rice and wheat through the public distribution system, was following certain policies which were creating confusion in the minds of farmers ad well as the state governments.
He wrote that the FCI has not fixed the target of procurement for the entire year in one go and that even though the production is increasing year by year the procurement is not keeping pace
“Due to these policies of FCI, it is becoming difficult for the states to plan an appropriate cropping pattern and explain the same to the farmers. For instance even though the production of rice in Telangana during Khariff 2021 was 55.75 lakh tonnes the procurement was only 32.66 lakh tonnes which is 59 per cent of the production. This was less than the 78 per cent procured in kharif 2019-20. Such wide variation in procurement levels does not allow the state to implement a rational cropping pattern,” reads the letter.
KCR pointed out that to clear these confusions and fix the appropriate target for procurement, he had personally met union minister for food and public distribution Piyush Goyal on September 25 and 26. “I requested that the annual target for procurement be fixed immediately. It is 50 days since I have met the Hon’ble Union Minister but no policy decision is taken and communicated to us,” he wrote.
KCR also brought to the notice of Modi that since the formation of the state in 2014, Telangana achieved tremendous progress in agriculture sector and claimed that this was due to a series of policies and measures taken by the state government to strengthen agriculture sector.
The farmers were given encouragement in terms of investment support of Rs 10,000 per acre for year and free 24/7 quality power. The hardworking farmers of Telangana have increased the yields in a significant way, thereby constructing to the progress of the country.
KCR pointed out that before the formation of the state there was drought and hunger prevalent everywhere. Today, due to the enormous increase in irrigation facilities, Telangana is not only able to meet its food grain requirements but has become a huge grain surplus state.
“The farmers of Telangana are now able to produce for the rest of the country and this progress is also known to you,” he added.