HYDERABAD: To turn the heat on BJP, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao is sending a delegation to Delhi on Tuesday to exert pressure on the Center to procure the entire stock of Rabi paddy from Telangana just as the way it was doing in Punjab.
“The wide-ranging meeting of the TRS on Monday decided to force the Center to procure entire stock of Rabi paddy from Telangana. The delegation will meet Union Food Minister Piyush Goel and insist on lifting the paddy stocks from farmers after paying the MSP to them, ”the Chief Minister said, briefing the media on the decisions taken during the meeting.
Rao said that the TRS had decided fight till justice is done to Telangana farmers. “If the Center obliges, fine. Otherwise, there would be no entreaties. We will build an agitation on the lines of Telangana movement to make the Center concede our demand, ”he said.
Justifying the State’s demand for procurement of paddy by FCI, the Chief Minister said that under the Food Security Act, it is imperative for Center to keep stocks of foodgrains that would suffice the nation’s requirements at least for three days in the unfortunate event of a widespread famine. The Constitution has placed the burden on the Center to build foodgrain stocks. “Is there any country which can feed India for a week,” he asked.
‘Procure paddy, not rice’
Rao also sought a uniform procurement policy for the entire nation. “Let the FCI procure paddy from farmers all over the country. In Telangana, it procures rice and not paddy. We demand that henceforth the FCI procure paddy after paying MSP to the farmers. Why should we take the trouble of converting the paddy into rice and then selling it to the FCI. Let the FCI take paddy directly and then do whatever it wants with it, ”he said.
The Chief Minister also mooted an amendment to the Constitution to provide protection to the farmers. “If the BJP is really a pro-farmer party, let it take the initiative and see that there is statory protection to the farmers, and thus end the feeling of insecurity over whether or not their produce would be procured and whether the rice would be remunerative, ”he said.
Meanwhile, BJP State president Bandi Sanjay Kumar, who met Food Minister Piyush Goyal, told the media in Delhi that the Minister had said that Rabi raw rice from Telangana will be procured. “KCR is trying to gain political mileage over the issue. Even on an earlier occasion, they created an issue out of it and fell flat after doing drama in Delhi, ”he said.
Congress also demanded that the State government should ensure that all the paddy is procured from Telangana farmers. To built pressure on the government, the party has decided to organise protests and demonstrations at civil supplies offices.
Former Minister G Chinna Reddy said that “flexies will be erected at procurement centers, memoranda will be submitted to Collectors, voicing our demand”. “In the upcoming public meetings of ‘Mana Ooru Mana Poru’, the issue will be brought under sharper focus,” he added.