HYDERABAD: After a meeting with the Union Minister for Food and Public Distribution Piyush Goyal on the paddy procurement issue in Delhi, which ended in a stalemate, Minister of Agriculture Singireddy Niranjan Reddy said that the latter sought two to three more days time to give clarity on the issue.
A delegation of Telangana Ministers, which left for Delhi on Saturday night, got an appointment with Goyal only on Tuesday. Later speaking to the media, Reddy said: “We will leave Delhi after taking a written assurance from the Centre on rice procurement.” He alleged that the Centre did not give any assurance on rice procurement and instead it is blaming the state.
“The Food Corporation of India (FCI) failed to move rice from the state due to shortage of rakes. Around 10 lakh tonnes of rice has not yet been moved out of the godowns in the state,” he said. But the BJP had a different take on rice procurement in Telangana.
Piyush Goyal said that the state government is yet to deliver 27 lakh tonnes of rice from last Rabi to the FCI. Speaking to reporters, he said: “Out of those 27 lakh tonnes of rice, 14 lakh tonnes were parboiled and 13 lakh tonnes raw rice. The Centre was considerate enough to procure an additional 20 lakh tonnes of last Rabi’s parboiled rice as a special gesture.”
Terming the state government’s claim on slow movement of wagons causing shortage of space, leading to delay in delivery of rice as ‘wild allegations,’ he said the state government did not deliver the agreed quantity of rice to the FCI. Union Minister Kishan Reddy, meanwhile, said that the state government made an agreement with FCI for procurement of 40 lakh tonnes of raw rice for the current Rabi season, which will take place from January till July 31.
Referring to other states which were giving bonus to farmers for Rabi paddy, he questioned why Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, who declared that he would procure every grain of paddy, was not taking the responsibility now.