Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, popularly known as KCR, has said his government would not buy paddy from farmers this Rabi season, citing the Central government's refusal to buy parboiled rice from farmers in the state. He also launched a frontal attack on the centre over the issue.
The state cabinet has decided not to set up any paddy purchase centres in the Rabi season and said farmers should sow the crop only if they have purchase agreements with the rice millers or seed companies or were growing for their own families.
KCR said the state has already suffered Rs 10,000 crore loss due to paddy and maize procurement last year and pointed out that the Centre did not purchase 5 lakh tonnes of rice from last Rabi season that they were committed to purchase.
TRS party MPs had protested in parliament yesterday demanding uniform national procurement policy, pointing out that foodgrains from Punjab were being bought but not from Telangana.
The Chief Minister went all out at the Central government leadership, saying they had failed on all fronts and must be thrown out for the country to progress. He described the BJP government at the Centre as "wicked" and said their policies were anti-farmer, anti-poor and anti-middleclass, "benefitting only the Adanis and Ambanis''.
Just like PM Modi had apologised to farmers and got "useless" farm laws repealed, he would have to apologise to Telangana farmers as well, KCR said.
The Chief Minister questioned the development that the Prime Minister has brought and asked who profited from it.
"In the last seven years, what is the progress that the Narendra Modi government has brought to the country? What have they achieved? Who did they help, the poor, the Dalits, the tribals, BCs, women, farmers, unemployed youth, what is the welfare you brought. Because of you 750 farmers died but you are not willing to extend financial help to them. If you are allowed anymore, you will bring communal madness and divisive politics and bring Ravana's rule,'' he said.
Calling Union Minister for Food Piyush Goyal and Tourism Minister Kishan Reddy, who is from Telangana, "shameless", the Chief Minister claimed that the two were making inconsistent statements on paddy procurement.
"We will take rice and throw it in front of the Prime Minister's residence and Kishan Reddy's residence as well as India Gate,'' KCR threatened, saying the Centre had said they would procure 40 lakh tonnes of Kharif paddy but the state wanted them to purchase the 90 lakh tonnes that was produced by farmers.
He pointed out that India fared very poorly behind even smaller neighbours on the Global Hunger Index.
"They must reveal the annual procurement quota from Telangana and have a uniform national procurement policy,'' the Chief Minister said.
The Chief Minister took offence at a reported comment of the Union Food Minister when a delegation of ministers and officials went to meet him in Delhi. Piyush Goyal had reportedly asked if it was necessary to come to Delhi to talk about paddy procurement every time.
The Telangana High Court has issued notice to the state government, Food Corporation of India and the Centre on the basis of a PIL filed, asking why the government was refusing to purchase paddy from farmers. They have to reply in a week. The next case hearing will come up on December 6.