CM KCR warns farmers not to sow paddy, refuses to reduce state VAT on petrol, diesel

Chief Minister Rao said that if farmers in the state plant paddy this Yasangi season, then there will be no one to purchase the crop

Hyderabad: In his most combative political outburst in years, an emotionally surcharged Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao on Sunday evening reiterated his state government’s policy directive to farmers, asking ryots in Telangana not to make the mistake of sowing paddy because the Narendra Modi-led Central government was no longer going to procure rice.

Castigating the power-seeking politics of state BJP led by its ‘silly’ president Bandi Sanjay, Mr Chandrashekar Rao warned farmers not to “fall for the false promises and self-serving instigations” of the saffron party that it will “ensure purchase of every single grain of paddy” grown in the state.

The BJP was speaking on the issue of farmer’s welfare with a forked tongue, Mr Rao thundered during his over an hour-long monologue at the hurriedly called presser Sunday evening at Pragati Bhavan.

Brandishing copies of various letters from the Food Corporation of India, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution – CM Chandrashekar Rao said the Centre had “made it amply clear” that it will not purchase any parboiled rice from Telangana this Yasangi (Rabi) crop season.

“We were forced to write a letter that we will not give parboiled rice from the Yasangi season. We had to do so the Centre accepts offtake of an already existing 20 lakh tonnes of parboiled rice from existing stocks, which is in addition to the 24.75 lakh tonnes it originally agreed to purchase from the 2020-21 season. After forcing us to commit in writing that we will not give any more parboiled rice, now the Centre is saying it cannot procure rice from Telangana,” he said.

Elaborating further, Chief Minister Rao said that if farmers in the state plant paddy this Yasangi season, then there will be no one to purchase the crop.

“The state BJP president Bandi Sanjay says he will bend our necks and force us to buy every grain of paddy grown. He is calling on farmers to plant paddy this season. This will be disastrous for farmers. While we are working to ensure farmers do not suffer, the BJP, for political gains, is calling on them to plant paddy,” he said.

The Constitution of India vests responsibility of ensuring food security of the nation and people with the Centre. The Food Corporation of India (FCI) was born out of this commitment, he narrated.

Only the FCI has scientifically designed godowns for long-term storage of grains, said Rao, adding that no state owns such capability.

Blaming the Centre’s refusal to buy parboiled rice, the state was forced to convert the Yasangi paddy crop, because of climatic conditions, to other crops, he said.

Chandrashekar Rao, however, added a rider, saying, “if Bandi Sanjay can get a letter from the Centre assuring it will purchase paddy grown in Telangana, then the TRS government will make it possible for farmers to sow paddy. There is time till the end of December for Yasangi but it won’t happen.”

“Farmers should not get swayed by false promises of the BJP. But in absence of such an assurance in writing, farmers, if they plant paddy, will be putting themselves in danger,” the Chief Minister warned.

Calling the cut in excise duties on petrol and diesel to the tune of Rs 5 and Rs 10 per litre by the Modi government a mere eyewash, Mr Rao refused to consider any cut in the state share of Value Added Tax on fuel. He announced that Telangana would not reduce VAT it collects on petrol and diesel, despite the Centre’s call on states to reduce locally levied taxes.

Calling the Centre’s call to the states “arrogant,” Chandrashekar Rao said “since 2014, we have not increased a single paisa on VAT. The Centre, since 2014, raised the price of petrol from Rs 77 a litre to Rs 114 now, and diesel from Rs 68 to Rs 107 a litre now. The cuts it announced, of Rs 5 on petrol and Rs 10 on diesel, is an eyewash, done with an eye on four states that will be going to polls soon. It raised prices sky high and is now reducing them a tiny bit.”

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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