Rs 15,000-crore loans to help Telangana buy paddy

As FCI is yet to clear previous Kharif paddy stocks in districts, the government is expected to face severe godown space shortage

Hyderabad: The state government has secured a Rs 15,000-crore loan from four banks to pay MSP (minimum support price) for farmers for paddy procurement in rabi. The loan was obtained by TS Civil Supplies Corporation with a bank guarantee provided by the state government.

Over 5,000 paddy procurement centres will be opened in all the major villages across the state initially on Thursday and paddy will be purchased on a full scale from Friday. The government plans to increase paddy procurement centres to 7,000 by May 10 depending on the demand and the entire paddy procurement process will be completed before June 15.

The MSP amount of Rs 1,960 per quintal will be credited to the accounts of farmers directly within a week after procurement.

The government is expected to procure nearly 65 lakh tonnes of paddy in rabi. However, as the Food Corporation of India (FCI) is yet to clear previous Kharif paddy stocks in districts, the government is expected to face severe godown space shortage.

Last year, the government used private function halls and government schools, colleges etc which were shut due to Covid curbs for paddy storage but it will not be possible now with function halls and educational institutions functioning on a full scale due to the lifting of Covid curbs.

Speaking to media persons on Wednesday, the civil supplies minister Gangula Kamalakar said the Centre’s refusal to purchase paddy from Telangana in rabi will impose a heavy financial burden on the state government. Despite this, the CM has decided to bear this burden for the benefit of farmers.

“The Centre, as well as state BJP leaders, are claiming that they will purchase raw rice and not boiled rice. We are ready to give you raw rice now. Let them give clarity on how much raw rice they would purchase from Telangana in rabi. If they backtrack again even after giving raw rice, everyone will come to know that the Centre and state BJP leaders have cheated Telangana farmers again. We are writing a letter to the Centre in this regard and we will wait for their reply,” Kamalakar added.

In Telangana, usually boiled rice is produced in rice mills from paddy grown in the rabi season due to heat conditions prevailing in the state in summer. If raw rice is produced in rabi like in Kharif, broken rice will come out which FCI does not take. In Kharif, for every quintal of rice (100 kgs), 65 kg of raw rice is produced but in rabi, only 32 kgs of raw rice is produced. To avoid this loss, millers opt for parboiled technology in rabi to produce 65 kgs of boiled rice.

Now, the Telangana government has agreed to bear the loss on account of producing raw rice in rabi. It remains to be seen whether the Centre responds favourably to the TS government’s offer to supply raw rice even in rabi. The government could recover some part of its loan only if FCI purchases raw rice and reimburses the amount to the state government later. If not, the government will be forced to auction the rice in the open market and may incur huge losses on account of this.

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