FCI gets nod to procure rice from Telangana

Deccan Chronicle.  | L. Venkat Ram Reddy

Nation, Current Affairs

Piyush Goyal said that the Centre took the decision to resume rice procurement keeping in mind the welfare of farmers and rice millers

The procurement of rice was stopped in the first week of June, leading to about 94 lakh tonnes of paddy getting stuck at rice mills across the state.(Representational Photo: AFP)

Hyderabad: In a relief to the Telangana state, the Centre on Wednesday permitted the Food Corporation of India (FCI) to resume the procurement of rice from the state with immediate effect.

Addressing a press conference in New Delhi on Wednesday along with Union tourism minister G. Kishan Reddy, minister for food and public distribution system (PDS) Piyush Goyal said the Centre was forced to stop rice procurement from Telangana after the state government acted ‘insensitively’ towards poorer sections by stopping the implementation of the PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana Scheme from April this year despite the Centre supplying Rs 5 kg free rice to each of ration card holders for distribution.

The procurement of rice was stopped in the first week of June, leading to about 94 lakh tonnes of paddy getting stuck at rice mills across the state.

Adding to the misery, the recent heavy rains damaged rice stocks resulting in huge losses.

“The Centre was also forced to stop procurement after the Telangana government failed to act against errant rice millers in the state, who resorted to irregularities in milling and storage as physical verifications by FCI officials found that over 4 lakh rice bags were missing,” the minister said.

“The Telangana government has communicated to us that they have started distribution of rice under the Prime Minister’s scheme from June. They also assured to distribute the backlogs of April and May months in July and August. They also assured to initiate action against errant rice millers. Trusting their assurances and keeping in mind the welfare of farmers and poor in Telangana, the Centre has decided to resume rice procurement from the state,” Goyal stated.

The Union food minister said that the Centre took the decision to resume rice procurement keeping in mind the welfare of farmers in Telangana as well as rice millers who were suffering due to the negligent attitude of the Telangana government. Goyal came down heavily on the Telangana government calling it as the most ‘insensitive’ towards farmers and poor.

He said Chief Minister and his cabinet ministers use 'foul language' against Prime Minister and Union ministers and level false charges against them.

He also accused that the Telangana government was more interested in playing politics and least bothered about the plight of farmers and poorer sections, who are dependent on PDS rice for their food needs.

Union minister G. Kishan Reddy also took a dig at the Telangana government for 'politicising' paddy procurement issue to derive political mileage instead of cooperating with the Centre for smooth procurement.

“They stopped PM's rice scheme without any reason. They failed to act against errant rice millers. When we pointed out these lapses, the CM and his ministers started dharnas and protests in Telangana and even held a dharna in Delhi. Where was the need to do all this? It's the Telangana government which signed an agreement with FCI that they will supply only raw rice. Suddenly, they changed their stand and insisted on supplying boiled rice. When we questioned it, they started levelling false charges against the BJP and the Centre," Kishan Reddy said.

Meanwhile, representatives of Telangana rice millers association met Goyal and requested him to come to their rescue by resuming rice procurement. Goyal pointed out black marketing by a few rice millers and told them that farmers were facing problems on account of this. Millers promised Goyal that they will take steps to check black marketing. Goyal warned them of severe consequences if they resort to black marketing in future.

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