Agriculture Minister flays Piyush Goyal for spreading misinformation on paddy procurement
The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) has alleged that the BJP-led Central government was conspiring against farmers of Telangana by dodging its responsibility on procurement of foodgrains and spreading misinformation on the issue from Parliament.
Criticising Union Minister of Food and Public Distribution Piyush Goyal for his statement in Parliament on paddy procurement in Telangana, Minister for Agriculture S. Niranjan Reddy, along with legislators M. Anand, K. Venkatesh Yadav, S. Vanidevi and others, on Sunday alleged that Mr. Goyal had spoken lies on the supply of rice pertaining to the last Rabi season by Telangana.
Mr. Niranjan Reddy reminded the Union Minister that the responsibility of paddy procurement was on the Centre/FCI and the State government cooperates and supports the exercise, which is in vogue since Independence. However, the FCI was inordinately delaying shifting or lifting milled (parboiled) rice pertaining to the last Rabi season lying with millers for want of railway rakes.
He even cited examples of the State Civil Supplies Corporation writing to the FCI to lift the milled rice swiftly so that there was no storage problem for paddy/rice pertaining to the recent Kharif season arriving at mills from procurement centres. However, no urgency was being shown by FCI to empty the space with millers by lifting stocks pertaining to the last Rabi citing shortage of railway rakes and storage space in its facilities, he noted.
On parboiled rice, the Minister said that it was the Centre, not any State government, that had introduced the system long ago, as milling raw rice was uneconomical in Southern States in the second crop (Rabi) season due to high temperatures during the crop period and paddy produced in Rabi was processed only as parboiled rice.
Even after formation of Telangana, the percentage of parboiled rice procurement from the State during the last seven years was a minimum of 87% out of the total quantity lifted every year, Mr. Niranjan Reddy said, and explained that in 2014-15, the percentage of raw rice in total rice supplied to FCI was 93, and in 2015-16, it was 89. It was 97% in 2016-17, 94% in 2017-18, 100% in 2018-19, 93% in 2019-20 and 87% in 2020-21.
Mr. Niranjan Reddy appealed to farmers again not to go for paddy this Rabi season unless they have any tie-up with millers, traders, trading companies and seed companies as there would not be any procurement in Rabi. He urged them to cultivate alternative crops that have better demand in the market.
Meanwhile, official sources stated that millers were being pressurised to slow down milling of paddy pertaining to the last Rabi as against the requirement of 40 rakes everyday, only 15 were being allotted to Telangana to shift the last Rabi rice (parboiled) from mills to FCI storage facilities. Lorries carrying this type of rice were being made to wait for days together for unloading the stock at rake points.
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