With the Centre ruling out lifting of parboiled rice from Telangana, Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao on Monday announced that the state government will not set up paddy procurement centres in the coming Rabi season.
Lashing out at the Centre for "running away" from its social responsibility, he told farmers that the state neither has the financial capacity to procure the rice nor the infrastructure to store it.
He, however, assured the farmers that the government will buy the entire paddy produced during the current Kharif season. Rao said though the Centre has not agreed to enhance the procurement target beyond 40 lakh tonnes, the state government will procure the entire paddy despite the losses it has to bear.
KCR, as Rao is popularly known, said the Centre has agreed to buy only 40 lakh tonnes during the ongoing season though the production is expected to be 90 lakh tonnes. He warned that the paddy not procured by the Centre during the current season will be dumped at the offices of the BJP and at the India Gate in Delhi.
The Chief Minister was addressing a news conference after the meeting of the state Cabinet, which reviewed the situation following the decision of the Centre not to procure parboiled rice from the state.
KCR pointed out that during Rabi, it is only the parboiled rice which is cultivated due to high temperature in February-March.
The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief came down heavily on the Centre for not fixing the annual target of raw rice it is going to procure from the state.
He alleged that the Centre is running away from its social responsibility. "The government can't view every issue in terms of profit and loss. It also has a social responsibility," he said.
KCR claimed that it is the Constitutional duty of the Centre to procure food grains, distribute them through the Public Distribution System (PDS) and maintain buffer stocks to ensure food security and to make the country self-sufficient in food grains production.
He alleged that ever since the BJP came to power at the Centre, it was adopting "anti-farmer, anti-poor and anti-middle class" policies.
KCR alleged that the BJP government killed 750 farmers by bringing three farm laws and Prime Minister Narendra Modi withdrew the same and apologised to farmers out of fear of losing elections in Uttar Pradesh and other states.
Stating that India ranks below Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal in global hunger index, he ridiculed the claims by the Centre that it can't buy more rice as stocks were piling up. He said the Modi government should address the issue of hunger by free distribution of rice among the needy.
He said poor and common man of the country will get relief only when the Modi government is thrown out of power.
KCR alleged that the Centre was treating them as beggars for visiting Delhi to take up the issue of paddy procurement. He slammed Union Minister Piyush Goyal for asking a delegation of state ministers if they had no other work.
He said the TRS would continue to raise the issues of farmers in Parliament. He demanded that the Minimum Support Price (MSP) Act be passed during the ongoing session.
He also reiterated opposition to the proposed amendment to Electricity Act. He alleged that the Centre was trying to take control of the electricity sector and force the states to fix meters for electricity connections for farmers.
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