The state government now is looking at a bill of Rs 3,500 crore, if it is to buy its own paddy this season, an amount which will only increase as the production of the crop grows in the coming seasons. (Illustration by Subhani)
PADDY RECORD PROVES COSTLY TO STATE
Post the formation of the Telangana state, the government has put its might behind increasing paddy production to become the number one producer of paddy in the country. In the process, it went about creating agricultural and irrigational infrastructure worth lakhs of crores in the state and after seven years emerged as the highest producer. While the record is a commendable one, it has proven to be an extremely expensive proposition to the state after the Centre’s refusal to buy all the paddy produced. The state government now is looking at a bill of Rs 3,500 crore, if it is to buy its own paddy this season, an amount which will only increase as the production of the crop grows in the coming seasons. To correct his costly situation agriculture minister S. Niranjan Reddy has been directing officials to talk farmers out of growing more paddy and instead focus on cotton and chilli, which are more in demand.
MLAs EAT AWAY AT CORPORATOR’S EARNINGS
Hyderabad’s corporators, from across all parties are up in arms against their local MLAs, saying that they are not being allowed to take part in the development programmes of their areas. Their ire is directed at the MLAs since the lion’s share of commissions has been swiped by the big shots in these dealings. Thanks to this, several miffed corporators have begun ignoring their MLAs whenever they’re summoned. In the TRS, a senior politician invited several corporators for an official party prior to the GHMC Council meeting last week. To his surprise, only 26 attended out of the 56 TRS corporators. While it is usual for Opposition corporators to find that they have no voice, those in the ruling party are finding themselves in the same boat. TRS corporators who were aspiring to be corporation chairpersons are also seeing several of their jobs being taken away by the MLAs. An insider recently said that they’re waiting for the polls to displace the "monarchy", of these greedy MLAs.
BJP, TRS BATTLE IT OUT OVER MISSING RICE
It’s no big secret that the BJP and the TRS are at loggerheads and have been flinging potshots at each other quite publicly for quite sometime now. The battle between the two parties has been reaching its crescendo and both sides have now gotten used to using some nouvelle defence and offence strategies. The latest scuttle between the two heavyweights was when Union minister G. Kishan Reddy stated that more then 4.5 Lakh bags of rice were missing from just a fraction of the state’s rice mills. The allegation was met with strong resistance from the other side, when civil supplies minister Gangula Kamalakar retorted saying, "If soaps are stolen from a factory, is that a loss to the consumer?." The curious case of rice and soap has now become a talking point among party insiders on both sides, leading to many internal jokes on the topic.
IAS BABUS MIFFED OVER FAKE FACEBOOK PROFILES
Several district collectors have recently become the victims of cyberfraudsters who have been creating fake social media profiles of the IAS officers asking innocent associates for money. Many babus have as a result become hesitant to remain on any social media platforms. Creating phony social media accounts in the name of collectors and sending requests to their friends for money, these hackers have been hassling officers after sending friend request to their followers and friends. Many officers have now as a precaution begun sending out their own messages asking their friends not to send money to anyone. The latest targets of this scam are Adilabad collector Sikta Patnaik and Narayanpet collector Harichandana. Earlier, it Nizamabad collector C. Narayana Reddy was a victim of the same prank, in whose name a Facebook account was created asking people for money. In Sikta Patnaik’s case, fraudsters even sent fake gift vouchers to her contacts and sought `10,000 apiece. One official who received the message alerted the Collector, following which she lodged a complaint. Unfortunately by then, a person from Hyderabad had already paid `30,000 to the scamster. Interestingly, this fake message was put out when the collector was in a meeting and could not be disturbed for some hours. An inside hand perhaps?
JAGAN’S FOUR PILLARS TO THE RESCUE
Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy has chosen ‘Four Pillars’ of the YSR Congress, and given them the responsibility of securing a victory in the 2024 elections. Earlier, party MP V. Vijayasai Reddy was considered the de facto No. 2 after Jagan in the party and government but now there is a wider, more collective effort being put in place. Jagan has formed what is being called the ‘Band of Four’ with Sajjala Ramakrishna Reddy, Y.V. Subba Reddy, Peddireddy Ramachandra Reddy and Vijayasai Reddy. Ramakrishna Reddy, a government adviser, has grown in stature as a troubleshooter for the government and party and most recently played an important role in the formation of the Cabinet 2.0. He is being seen as the first of the four pillars after Jagan made him party coordinator of all 26 YSRC district presidents and nine regional coordinators. Subba Reddy, Jagan’s close relative and TTD Chairman, has been given the responsibility of four districts of the Visakha region, senior minister Ramachandra Reddy has been given another four. Vijayasai Reddy has the responsibility of handling YSRC associate organisations including the party's social media wings.
SUICIDE SQUADS PROMISE ALLEGIANCE TO NAIDU
Even for a party given to making outrageous claims, this was a bit much. For the first time, a mainstream political party, the Telugu Desam openly declared that it had formed a 100-member "suicide squad" to tackle those making objectionable remarks against party chief Nara Chandrababu Naidu. Former MLC and TD leader Buddha Venkanna announced the "suicide squad" formation during Naidu’s birthday celebrations, and it shocked, nay staggered, even party members. Venkanna said the squad was "ready to kill or get killed" to protect Naidu and his family. What exactly the squad will do remains to be seen. Meanwhile, AP housing minister Jogi Ramesh lashed out at Venkanna and wondered how anyone could talk of forming suicide squads in this time and age.