New Delhi: Four MPs of Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) led by K Keshava Rao staged a walk out from Rajya Sabha as they were not satisfied with reply of Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Piyush Goyal on their demand on government's assurance to procure parboiled rice from Telangana this Rabi season.
Earlier in the morning session, three TRS members had also trooped into the Well of the House over issues related to farm sector of states. But later they returned to their seats after Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu asked them to go back to their seats.
Later during the question hour, asking a supplementary, Rao had asked Goyal that whether central government plans to procure entire rice irrespective of type from Telangana.
Showing a newspaper clip, he stated,"I already got the answer from a union cabinet minister (showing a newspaper clip) who says I as a union cabinet minister say that every piece of grain will be procured by the central government. Does the government stand by this statement? We are talking about whatever left with us.Last year you took 94 lakh tonnes."
Replying to that Goyal said,"I dont know what other statements are referred to....consistently the central government is increasing procurement of rice for the central pool...this is the most responsive government to farmers' interest."
In the Kharif season, the (Telangana) had estimated that they will give us 50 lakh tonnes. What they were finally able to give us is 32.66 lakh tonnes. In the Rabi season, they estimated 55 lakh tonnes. Finally they are saying that they have procured paddy to make 61.87 lakh tonnes (of rice), he replied.
"We on our part agree that we will procure the rice which they provide us, up to 94.53 lakh tonnes. This is what they are claiming that they have procured. But even today as we speak, 29 lakh tonnes (supply) is pending. They have not been able to give the agreed quantity. I dont know why this political issue has been raised in Telangana. They still have to give us 29 lakh tonnes. There were number of discrepancies found in the stock," Goyal explained.
The minister pointed out,"We are saying that there is an MoU. We are buying rice under the MoU."
On this Rao asked,"I have not asked you for MSP. will you take parboiled rice and if you take How much you will take?"
Goyal replied, "In the current year, they have yet supplied rice they are expected to supply. We are asking them to first complete what is pending, the 29 lakh tonnes from Telangana. First they should supply that if they still have any problem then they can come and approach the government and appropriate decision as per the MoU (will be taken). They have to stick to the MoU and supply us the rice."
Meanwhile, Sasmit Patra (BJD) also raised the issue that FCI will not procure par boiled rice and urged the minister to lift the surplus par boiled rice.
Another TRS member K R Suresh Reddy said that the minister has casted certain aspirations.
"He (Goyal) spoke about the discripencies between the state and centre. There has been a doubt on government of India regarding the quantum of rice grown in telangana. Central government officials verified the allocated quota of rice for Telangana. It is conslcuded the 99.99 per cent, it is the same (estimate). So there is no discripencies there. How did it grow so much. In the last four to five years, there has been tremendus in the irrigation sector which resulted in more area coming under irrgation and paddy (cultivation)."
He further said,"The minister says that we will not buy parboiled rice because we have sufficicent stock. The (union) minister in Telangana says that we will buy every grain of rice."
Reddy explained,"They have a record of buffer stock. They have a record of parboiled rice. If you feel that you have sufficient parboiled rice to feed the country for two years then tell us not to grow parboiled rice. The reason why we are agitating today because people have started sowing of parboiled rice for Rabi season. The minister says that I will let you know in March."
Referring to a letter of the Government of Telangana, Goyal told the House that the state shall not deliver parboiled rice to FCI in future.
"...indicated well in advance that for future the state shall not deliver parboiled rice to FCI in future. Depsite that we said ok even though we have a lot of stock, we dont konw what type of rice you have currently already there, we will procure all of that. I dont know why again and again this issue is being raised. Please supply the 17 lakh tonnes rice (pending supply). I will accommodate small quantity over this also," Goyal said.
After the minister's reply, Deputy Chairman Harivansh asked Ashok Bajpai to ask for supplementary question while TRS members remained unsatisfied with reply of the minister.
When Deputy Chairman did not allow TRS members to ask supplementary on the issue, four members led by Rao walked out of the House....