Hyderabad, March 29 (IANS) At a time when migrant workers from several states were returning home due to nation-wide Coronavirus lockdown, Telangana has urged Bihar to send back the latter’s workers employed in rice mills in Telangana.

Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao told reporters on Sunday night that Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar will speak to his Bihar counterpart to request him to send back the workers.

Rao said if necessary he would talk to the Centre to arrange few special trains to bring back the Bihari migrant workers.

With Telangana gearing up to procure record 1.05 crore tonnes of paddy from farmers at designated procurement centres in villages in view of the lockdown, the authorities believe the task can’t be completed without labourers from Bihar who do the work.

The Chief Minister said 95 per cent of the workers in rice mills were Bihari migrants. These workers, who load and unload the rice trucks, had gone to Bihar for ‘Holi’ and are now stranded there due to lockdown.

KCR, as the ChiefMinister is popularly known, said the state was also facing a tough task in arranging 70 lakh gunny bags required for procuring the paddy. The state has only 35 lakh bags and with the gunny bag manufacturers in Kolkata shutting their operations due to lockdown, the state is facing a challenge in meeting the requirement.

The Chief Minister reiterated that his government would buy the entire paddy and maize grown in the state and appealed to farmers to have patience and wait in their villages for the procurement. He also assured that the entire stock would be purchased at Minimum Support Price (MSP).

KCR said despite the crisis, the government had made available Rs 30,000 crore for procurement of paddy and maize. He claimed that no other state has taken such a step.

He said Rabi crops were grown over 50 lakh acres. The paddy cultivation was taken up on 40 lakh acres which is a record.

The procurement of paddy will begin in the first week of April and will continue till May 15-20. He said every farmer would be issued a coupon, mentioning the date on which he will have to bring his produce to procurement centre. After the procurement, the money will be transferred online into the farmer’s bank account.

KCR said the markets in towns would remain shut and entire procurement will happen in villages by following all the social distancing guidelines and other precautions.

As harvesting of paddy is a problem faced by farmers, the Chief Minister directed officials to mobilise tractor mounted harvesters from towns and take them to fields for harvesting.




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