Hyderabad: As the paddy procurement issue continues to generate a lot of heat across Telangana, chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on Wednesday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging the Centre to buy 90% of the state’s paddy output.
The CM urged the Prime Minister to enhance the Centre’s procurement target from the existing 40 lakh metric tonnes (MTs) of rice to 90% of the total production in the present kharif season. He sought to remind the PM that the central government already buys more than 95% of Punjab’s wheat and paddy at MSP through the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and other agencies.
His plea to the PM comes a day before the TRS’s ‘maha dharna’ at Indira Park on Thursday. The ruling party had already hit the roads on November 12 demanding that the Centre procure paddy produced in the rabi season.
KCR also urged Modi to confirm the target for procurement of rice from Telangana in the forthcoming rabi season apart from completing procurement of the balance 5 lakh MTs of rice produced in last year’s rabi season. In a letter to the PM, the CM said Modi should clear the misgivings on paddy procurement immediately and fix an ‘appropriate target’.
“I personally met Union food minister Piyush Goyal on September 25 and 26 and requested him to fix the annual target for procurement. It has been 50 days since I have met the Union minister, but no policy decision has been taken and communicated to us so far,” KCR said in his letter to the PM.
Getting into the roots of the issue, the CM said the FCI was following certain policies which were creating confusion in the minds of farmers. Owing to this, the state was not able to fix the target for procurement for the entire year in one go, while paddy production had been increasing year by year.
“Due to these policies, it has become difficult for the states to plan an appropriate cropping pattern and explain the same to the farmers,” he said. For instance, rice production in Telangana in kharif 2020-2021 was 55.75 lakh MTs while procurement by the Centre was only 32.66 lakh MTs (59% of the production). “This was less than 78% of paddy procured in kharif 2019-20. Such wide variations do not allow the state government to implement a rational cropping pattern,” KCR claimed.
Seeking a level-playing field, the CM explained to the PM that India’s youngest state had achieved progress in the agriculture sector by a series of measures such as ₹10,000 per acre investment support through Rythu Bandhu, 24×7 free power for agriculture and Rythu Bima among others.