Hyderabad: The Centre has made it categorical that it was not possible to procure the entire paddy stock from Telangana in rabi as was being demanded by the state government.
The Telangana ministers' delegation, which met Union minister for food and public distribution, Piyush Goyal, in Delhi, along with TRS MPs, on Thursday was dealt a big jolt when the minister made this decision clear.
Official sources said Goyal took the delegation to task for making 'meaningless and unjust' demands since last November on the paddy procurement issue despite the Centre clarifying on umpteen occasions that it was not possible to procure entire paddy or boiled rice from Telangana or any other state.
Following the snub, the TRS is to launch agitation programmes in all districts from Friday.
Goyal reminded them about the agreement signed by the state government with Food Corporation of India (FCI) in 2021 stating that it will not supply boiled rice from rabi 2022.
He wondered how they could make such meaningless demands on procuring entire paddy from Telangana in rabi.
After the meeting, Goyal addressed a press conference in which he slammed the state government for misleading farmers’’ on paddy procurement and trying to provoke them against the BJP government at the Centre after distorting facts.
He lashed out at the state government for failing to intimate the Centre about the quantity of raw rice it would supply to FCI in rabi despite repeated reminders.
"We called for a meeting in February with all states on the procurement issue. All states except Telangana intimated us about the quantity of raw rice they wanted to supply to FCI."
Goyal alleged there is an 'anti-farmer government' in Telangana, which miserably failed in handing over rice stocks to FCI but was trying to cover up its failures by blaming the Centre in order to gain political mileage.
Goyal denied any 'discrimination' towards Telangana and said they are procuring paddy from states duly following stipulated norms and procedures. He said that for them Telangana and Punjab were the same.
Addressing a press conference later in Delhi, agriculture minister S. Niranjan Reddy condemned Goyal's criticism of Telangana government.
"The minister's comments are unfortunate and display his arrogance. The BJP government is treating paddy procurement as a political issue and not as an issue concerning the welfare of farmers."
The delegation, comprising Niranjan Reddy, Gangula Kamalakar, Vemula Prashanth Reddy and Puvvada Ajay returned empty-handed, according to official sources.