HYDERABAD: Finance Minister T Harish Rao demanded an unconditional apology from Union Food and Public Distribution Minister Piyush Goyal for heckling the Ministers S Niranjan Reddy and others.
Harish demanded that the Centre state the rice procurement target in writing. Speaking to reporters here on Wednesday, Harish objected to Goyal’s remarks regarding the tour of Ministers from the State to Delhi on farmers’ issues. Goyal had commented that Agriculture Minister Niranjan Reddy and others from Telangana came to Delhi as they had no other work.
Reacting to this, Harish said that Goyal had spoken like a politician and not a responsible Union Minister. The latter’s sarcastic remarks were an insult to 70 lakh farmers’ families in Telangana, Harish said. Goyal should withdraw his comments and tender an unconditional apology to the people for his unsavoury comments, he demanded.
Telangana ministers had gone to Delhi to seek clarification whether the Food Corporation of India (FCI) would procure the entire quantum of Kharif rice produced in Telangana. “The procurement target given to the State by the Centre is 40 lakh tonnes of rice. The target is over and 20 to 30 lakh tonnes of paddy is still with farmers. Is the Centre going to procure rice over and above 40 lakh tonnes from the State or not should be clarified. Our Ministers went to Delhi to seek this clarification,” Harish stated.
Goyal met TS BJP leaders
Goyal had time to meet BJP leaders from Telangana and discuss politics, but had no time to meet delegation of Ministers from the state who wanted to explain the problems of the farmers. The Centre, instead of helping the state, was passing the buck to the State government and trying to derive political mileage, the Finance Minister alleged.
In a separate press conference, State Planning Board vice-chairman B Vinod Kumar said that Piyush Goyal was born and brought up in Mumbai. He was totally ignorant of rural issues and the complexities of agriculture. “Goyal is not fit to be Minister for Public Distribution and procurement,” Vinod Kumar said.