Telangana insists on written assurance from Centre over paddy procurement

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A delegation of Telangana ministers and MPs on Tuesday insisted on written assurance from the Centre that it will lift entire paddy stocks procured from the farmers during current Kharif season.

The delegation, which was camping in Delhi for the last three days, met Union Food and Civil Supplies Minister Piyush Goyal and demanded that the Centre procure the entire paddy cultivated in the state.

State Agriculture Minister S. Niranjan Reddy told reporters after the meeting that they sought a written assurance over paddy procurement. He said Goyal wanted one or two days to give clarity over the issue, and the delegation will return from Delhi only after receiving a clear assurance.

He said they brought to the Central minister’s notice that the Food Corporation of India (FCI) was not lifting the procured paddy and Goyal directed the officials to speed up transportation by arranging the rakes.

The delegation informed Goyal that during the current season the target of 60 lakh tonnes of paddy will be reached in 2-3 days. Another 10-12 lakh tonnes of paddy is lying at procurement centres while 5 lakh tonnes is ready for harvest. “In this situation, we wanted him to clarify if the state should procure the remaining paddy or not. We demanded a written assurance in this regard,” he said.

Reddy said the Central minister reiterated that the Centre will not procure paddy during the coming Rabi season.

Earlier, state BJP leaders led by Union Tourism and Culture Minister G. Kishan Reddy called on Goyal and briefed him how the TRS government in the state is targeting BJP and the Centre over paddy procurement issue.

After the meeting, Goyal told reporters that the state government has failed in paddy procurement from farmers. He alleged that Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao was spreading falsehood over the issue.

He claimed that the Centre agreed to procure 20 lakh tonnes of parboiled rice in addition to the quantum agreed as per the agreement between the state and the FCI. He said there was no requirement of parboiled rice in the country but the Centre agreed for additional procurement as a special case in the interest of farmers. He alleged that the state government failed to make use of the opportunity.

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