With the Centre refusing to procure paddy from Telangana farmers during ongoing Rabi season, the state government on Tuesday decided to procure it.
The decision was taken by the state cabinet at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, who had led a protest in Delhi on Monday demanding the Centre to procure the entire paddy crop.
KCR, as the Chief Minister is popularly known, told reporters that the decision has been taken in the interest of the farmers. Purchasing centres will be opened in all villages from Wednesday.
The government will pay Rs 1,960 for every quintal of paddy. The money will be directly credited to the bank accounts of farmers.
KCR appealed to farmers not to sell the paddy at less than Minimum Support Price (MSP). He assured farmers that the state government will procure every grain though it may suffer a loss of Rs 3,000 crore to Rs 3,500 crore.
He demanded that the Centre should compensate the state for 37 per cent of losses during Rabi season as it has the Constitutional duty to ensure food security of the country.
He said due to high temperature during the season, the percentage of broken rice will be higher. While during Kharif season, one quintal of paddy yields 67 kg rice, during Rabi season, only 34 to 35 kg rice is produced.
A four-member committee headed by the Chief Secretary will study how to minimise the loss due to broken rice.
The Chief Minister lashed out at the Centre for refusing to buy paddy in Telangana. He alleged that Union Food Minister Piyush Goyal insulted people of Telangana when a ministerial delegation met him with the demand to procure paddy.
KCR, who led a dharna in Delhi on the issue, said he exposed the Central government before the country. He said while the Centre did not have Rs 3,000 crore to Rs 3,500 crore to procure paddy, it allowed scamsters to loot lakhs of crores from public sector banks and flee the country and also waived another Rs 10.5 lakh crore to big corporates.
He said it was India’s misfortune that there is an “anti-farmer” government at the Centre and alleged a conspiracy to hand over agriculture to the corporate sector.
He listed out the steps taken by his government during the last seven years to improve the agriculture sector and for the welfare of farmers. He said as a result of these measures the area under cultivation has crossed one crore acre.
During Rabi season, paddy cultivation was taken up in Telangana on 35.84 lakh acres, the highest in the country. Andhra Pradesh stands at distant second at 16.68 lakh acre. Estimated paddy production in Telangana is 83.83 lakh tonnes.
He claimed that no other government in the country or anywhere in the world is giving Rs 10,000 per acre for cultivation every year. Under this scheme called ‘Rythu Bandhu’ the government is spending Rs 15,000 crore every year.
KCR said that the state government is spending another 1,500 crore on providing free electricity to farmers and Rs 1,600 crore for the insurance scheme ‘Rythu Bhima’.