Telangana’s ruling party TRS staged protests on Friday demanding that the Centre procure the entire paddy stock from the state.
Ministers, Members of Parliament and state legislators belonging to the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) staged ‘dharnas’ in their constituencies.
Raising slogans against the Centre and holding placards, a large number of TRS cadres and farmers joined the leaders in the sit-in to protest the Centre’s refusal to lift the entire stock of paddy from the state.
TRS working president and Industry, Information Technology, Municipal Administration and Urban Development Minister KT Rama Rao led the protest in his home constituency Sircilla.
Finance and Health Minister T. Harish Rao led the protest in Siddipet. He slammed the Centre for its adamant attitude and for neglecting the state.
Harish Rao said though Telangana made tremendous progress in the agriculture sector and took many steps for the welfare of farmers during the last seven years, the stand taken by the Centre on paddy procurement has become a curse for farmers.
He listed the steps taken by the TRS government like completion of irrigation projects, revival of tanks and lakes and 24-hour free electricity supply to increase the area under cultivation.
The leader said protests were not new for TRS as the party took birth to fight for statehood for Telangana.
“If yesterday, we fought for Telangana state and achieved our goal, today, we are protesting against the injustice by the Centre to our state,” he said.
Harish Rao said the protest was just the beginning and TRS was ready to take it to any length for the sake of farmers.
The TRS leader said: “We are not afraid of BJP branding us anti-national or using central agencies against us.”
In Hyderabad, Ministers Mohammed Mahmood Ali and Srinivas Yadav led the protest at Dharna Chowk near Indira Park.
Chief Minister and TRS president K. Chandrasekhar Rao had last week given a call for the protest.
The Centre informed the state government in September that it would not purchase paddy from the state during the coming crop season as the Department of Food and Public Distribution has surplus parboiled rice.
This is the third time since the formation of Telangana in 2014 that TRS staged the protest.
The party had called for a statewide shutdown and staged protests after the Centre had merged 136 villages in seven mandals of Khammam district with Andhra Pradesh in May 2014.
The TRS leaders had again hit the streets in December 2020 as part of the nation-wide protest by farmers’ groups against three contentious farm laws.