A file photo of Civil supplies minister Gangula Kamalakar. (Photo: DC)
Hyderabad: Civil supplies minister Gangula Kamalakar on Thursday criticised Union tourism minister G. Kishan Reddy for stating that the state government had failed to make arrangements for the procurement of paddy, and that 4.5 lakh 100-kg bags of rice were missing from the mills.
Kishan Reddy had stated in a press conference on Wednesday that the inspections undertaken by the Food Corporation of India (FCI) in 40 rice mills in Telangana until March 30 had revealed that 4,53,896 bags of rice containing 18,155 tonnes were missing. This rice was meant to be supplied to the FCI for 2020-21 rabi and 2021-22 kharif seasons.
"Kishan Reddy should clarify whether the Centre has paid a single rupee to the state government for those so-called missing rice. It's the state government which procures paddy from the farmers with its own funds, transports them to millers and hands over rice stocks to the FCI," Kamalakar said.
"The FCI pays the state government after receiving rice stocks. What will the FCI will lose if rice is missing? We have the proof that not a single bag of rice is missing," he said.
"Even if any rice is missing, the government can invoke the Revenue Recovery Act and recover rice stocks. Kishan Reddy is speaking as if the Centre or the FCI had lost crores of rupees. It shows he lacks minimum knowledge on procurement process," Kamalakar said.
He also took strong exception to Kishan Reddy's comments that the state government was ill-prepared to purchase paddy in the rabi season.
"Kishan Reddy said that 15 crore gunny bags are required to procure 60 lakh metric tonnes of paddy but the government has not arranged even one crore bags. We have 3.57 crore gunny bags available with us. We are ready to show him these bags and he can count them. We have sought 8 crore bags from Centre but it has agreed to supply only 4.45 crore bags," Kamalkar said.
He claimed that the Centre was deliberately creating a shortage of gunny bags to defame the Telangana government. "Kishan Reddy is insulting Telangana state and its people more than union food minister Piyush Goyal. By sitting in Delhi, he is spitting venom on Telangana," Kamalakar said.