HYDERABAD: Even as TRS MPs continued their protests in both Houses of Parliament on the third consecutive day, Minister of State for Food and Public Distribution Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti on Wednesday said in Lok Sabha that the target for procuring Kharif rice from Telangana has been fixed at 40 lakh tonnes.
She, however, said that the increase or decrease of procurement estimate is decided on the basis of estimated production, marketable surplus and agricultural crop pattern. The TRS MPs in Lok Sabha raised slogans demanding that the Centre procure paddy from the State, disturbing the House proceedings during the Question Hour. Expressing ire over the protest, Speaker Om Birla directed the MPs to return to their seats. But, when they continued to protest near the podium, he adjourned the House for half an hour. The Speaker rejected the notice for adjournment motion given by the MPs.
Earlier, the MPs had staged a dharna near the Gandhi statue over the same issue. “We will continue our agitation in Parliament till the Centre concedes our demands,” TRS Parliamentary Party leader K Keshava Rao told reporters. He also said that the suspension over 12 members in Rajya Sabha should be lifted immediately.
Uttam blames TRS
Meanwhile, raising the paddy procurement issues during the Zero Hour in Lok Sabha, Congress MP N Uttam Kumar Reddy said the TRS MPs protesting in the lower House should go back to the State and tell Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao to buy the paddy. “The TRS government has failed to procure paddy,” he alleged. He said that enough gunny bags were not being supplied by the State government. Uttam Kumar also demanded that the Centre procure the entire Kharif rice produced in Telangana. “The Centre should not put any restrictions on sowing of paddy during the Rabi season,” he said.
Niranjan Jyoti’s reply
Replying to a question raised by TRS floor leader Nama Nageswara Rao and others on paddy procurement, Union Minister Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti said during the 2020-21 Rabi season, a record 61.87 LMT of rice had been procured by the State government and its agencies against the target of 55.00 LMT which was fixed in consultation with the State. The surplus rice offered by the State government is accepted by FCI under the central pool stock.
Referring to Kharif rice, she said the Centre had received a letter from Chandrasekhar Rao on its additional procurement over and above 40 lakh tonnes as agreed upon. “In the States/UTs Food Secretaries meeting held on August 17, the procurement estimate of 40 LMT of rice for the State was fixed by the Central government. The increase or decrease of procurement estimate is decided on the basis of estimated production, marketable surplus and agricultural crop pattern,” she said, without giving any indication whether the Centre would produce more than 40 lakh tonnes.