HYDERABAD: The Centre on Friday came down heavily on the Telangana government for raising a hue and cry over future paddy procurements while failing to deliver the agreed quantity of rice supplies to the Food Corporation of India (FCI) during previous kharif and rabi seasons. Union minister for food and public distribution Piyush Goyal made a statement to this effect in Rajya Sabha. In protest, the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) MPs staged a walkout from Rajya Sabha.
The row over paddy procurement from Telangana rocked both the Houses of Parliament for the fourth day in a row with the TRS MPs obstructing the proceedings by trooping into the podium and raising slogans demanding that Centre disclose paddy procurement target for rabi in Telangana.
The TRS MPs in Rajya Sabha lodged strong protest over Goyal's statement that the Centre would disclose upcoming rabi procurement target for Telangana in March 2022. The TRS MPs argued that farmers sowed rabi crops in December and what was the point in disclosing rabi target in March. They questioned who would take the responsibility if the Centre stuck to its current stand of not procuring paddy in rabi from Telangana even in March and where should farmers sell their produce then.
Goyal fired on the TRS MPs for 'politicising' paddy procurement issue repeatedly despite the Centre making its stand very clear on paddy procurement from Telangana. He said they had informed the Telangana government well in advance that the Centre would not procure parboiled rice from Telangana in rabi and the latter had even given a written undertaking on October 4 stating that it would not supply boiled rice to FCI henceforth and entered into an MoU but it was now demanding the Centre to procure parboiled rice.
He said there were a lot of discrepancies in Telangana government's estimates on paddy production and actual delivery of stocks to FCI. Goyal said,
"Consistently the Central government is increasing procurement of rice for the central pool from Telangana. This is the most responsive government to farmers' interests. In the kharif season, Telangana had estimated that they would give us 50 lakh tonnes. What they were finally able to give us was 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."
“We, on our part, agree that we will procure 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 are pending. They have not been able to give the agreed quantity. I don’t know why this political issue has been raised in Telangana. There were a number of discrepancies found in the rice stocks from Telangana,” Goyal explained....