Chief Minister K Chandra sekhar Rao addresses press conference along with cabinet ministers after the cabinet meeting at Pragati bhavan on Tuesday. (Photo: R. Pavan)
Hyderabad: Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao on Tuesday announced that the government had decided to purchase paddy at minimum support price (MSP) from farmers in the rabi season, which will cost the state about Rs 3,500 crore.
He said that the government had also decided to revoke GO 111, which protects the two drinking water lakes Himayatsagar and Osmansagar.
The Chief Minister, who was briefing the media on the decisions taken by the state Cabinet, said that a committee headed by the Chief Secretary had been formed to frame guidelines on how to protect the two lakes from pollution after GO 111 is revoked, by ensuring adequate green zones and drawing up an effective master plan to regulate construction activity.
The Cabinet also approved the setting up of six private universities which includes one for agriculture, one on pharmaceuticals and another for aviation, and setting up a common recruitment board to fill over 3,500 teaching and non-teaching vacancies in state universities.
The CM stated that paddy procurement centres would be opened in all the villages from Wednesday, and appealed to farmers not to resort to panic selling or selling their produce below MSP to rice millers or traders.
"We did everything from our side to bring pressure on the Centre to procure paddy but there was no response. We don’t want farmers to suffer losses on account of the Centre's wrong policies. For that reason, we have decided to purchase paddy on our own although it may put an additional burden of Rs 3,500 crore on the state government." the Chief Minister said.
"Our aim was to expose the Centre's double standard on paddy procurement and make it stand guilty before the people with our agitations. We were successful in this," Rao said.
He lashed out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP-led Centre again, accusing them of dividing the people on communal and religious lines to gain votes, in the process causing irreparable loss to the economy, investments and job opportunities. He warned that if this trend was not checked immediately, it would take at least 100 years for India to recover.
The CM announced that he would intensify the agitation against the BJP for its "anti-farmer" policies. He announced the holding of a national convention of farmers in Hyderabad next month in which an integrated national agriculture policy will be drafted with suggestions from farmers and experts.
"We will announce this new agriculture policy which gives Constitutional protection for farmers to get MSP for their produce. We will demand that the Centre implement this policy. If not, farmers will change the government and bring in a new government which will implement this policy," Rao stated.
The CM took BJP leaders to task for asking why paddy procurement had become a problem only in Telangana and not in other states, and for accusing the TRS government of playing "paddy politics.".
"Today, Telangana produces a quantity of paddy which no other state can match due to the TRS government's pro-farmer policies," the CM said. "In the rabi season, the total crop sown area of paddy in the country is 1.03 crore acres of which Telangana has 35.84 lakh acres. No other state can boast of at least half of what Telangana achieved. It is for this reason that paddy procurement has become an issue in Telangana because the Centre is not in a position to procure the amount of paddy produced in the state," Rao explained.