HYDERABAD: Slamming the BJP-led central government over the paddy procurement issue, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao said the TRS would lead the farmers' agitation in the country, if necessary, in order to see the end of the Narendra Modi government.
Addressing a dharna at Indira Park on Thursday, the Chief Minister wanted the Centre to fix the paddy procurement target for the year for Telangana. He also demanded that the FCI procure 90 per cent of Kharif rice produced in the state.
"Though, the farmers in north India are on an agitational path for the last six months against the anti-farmer laws, the central government tried to suppress them instead of resolving their problems. We have to fight against the Centre along with the north Indian farmers. If necessary, the TRS will lead a nationwide farmers' agitation," Chandrasekhar Rao said.
He said that the dharna was just the beginning and would continue till the Centre conceded the state's demand on paddy procurement. The Chief Minister said that agitations would also be organised in Delhi, if necessary.
"The future course of agitation will be decided after the response from the Centre on the TRS dharna," Rao said. After the dharna, a TRS delegation led by Rao left for Raj Bhavan to submit a memorandum to the Governor.
Joint Secretary's 'unofficial' response
The Joint Secretary of the Department of Food, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution, Government of India, unofficially told the media on Thursday that the Centre would not procure anymore parboiled rice from Telangana in Rabi and that based on the estimates of production in Rabi, the Centre would procure not less than how much was committed to during the 2020-21 Rabi season, which was 44.74 lakh tonnes.
He has also stated that the Centre had already committed to buying 40 lakh metric tonnes of rice from Telangana this Kharif season and that the Centre was considering the request of the state government for procuring more rice if needed.
This unofficial statement comes in response to Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao's letter addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday. However, no political representative from the Centre has responded to that letter yet.