72 hours:Telangana CM KCR’s deadline for Centre over paddy procurement issue

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao demanded that 90 per cent of Kharif rice produced in the State be procured by the FCI.

Published: 19th November 2021 08:03 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th November 2021 08:03 AM   |  A+A-

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao raises slogans as he stages a dharna  along with other TRS leaders at Indira Park in Hyderabad on Thursday, Nov 18, 2021

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao raises slogans as he stages a dharna along with other TRS leaders at Indira Park in Hyderabad on Thursday, Nov 18, 2021. (Photo | Vinay Madapu)

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on Thursday declared war against the Narendra Modi government on paddy procurement and set a deadline of 72 hours to the Centre to make its stand clear on the issue.

Stating that the war would be intensified further if the Centre fails to respond, he said that the TRS would lead a nationwide stir over farmers' issues along with the farmers of north India, who are on an agitation path for the last several months against anti-farmer laws of the Centre. “We will see the end of the Narendra Modi government,” Rao thundered. 

Asking the Prime Minister to make it clear whether or not the Centre would buy Rabi rice from the State, the Chief Minister said: “If the Centre says it will not buy paddy, the farmers will raise alternative crops. When I requested the farmers not to raise maize, they heeded my advice.” 

The entire Cabinet of KCR staged a Maha Dharna at Indira Park, demanding the Centre to procure 90 per cent of the Kharif rice produced in the State. TRS working president and IT Minister KT Rama Rao, Finance Minister T Harish Rao, Agriculture Minister S Niranjan Reddy and other Ministers, MPs MLAs, MLCs and a battery of  TRS leaders participated in the dharna. 

The Chief Minister wanted the Centre to inform the farmers whether the Food Corporation of India (FCI) would procure Rabi paddy or not. He demanded that 90 per cent of Kharif rice produced in the State be procured by the FCI.

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“Though the farmers in north India have been on an agitation path for several months, the Central government has only tried to suppress them instead of resolving their problems. We have to fight the Centre alongside them. If necessary, the TRS will lead the nation-wide farmers’ agitation,” he said.

This dharna is just the beginning and it will go on till the Centre concedes to the State’s demand on paddy procurement, he said, adding that if necessary, agitations would also be organised in Delhi.“We will wait for two or three days for the Centre’s response. The future course of action will be charted after that,” Rao said and declared that he would fight for the farmers till his last breath. “Even if the Centre tries to intimidate me, I will not cow down. KCR is not afraid of anyone. If he is, he could not have achieved Telangana State,” he said.  

‘Modi too staged a dharna’

Stating that he was participating in the dharna for three hours, Rao recalled that Narendra Modi, when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat, participated in a 51-hour fast. “After becoming Prime Minister, Modi should have ensured that no Chief Minister is forced to stage a dharna against the Centre,” he said.

Blaming the BJP government for igniting communal passions, cashing in on sentiments and deriving political mileage during elections, he said: “The Centre failed to implement its assurances, like the setting up of ITIR, tribal university and Navodaya schools.” He also claimed that the Central government lacked the required knowledge to understand Telangana’s problems. 

After the dharna, a TRS delegation submitted a memorandum to Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan. “The pro-farmer initiatives of the TRS government led to noteworthy progress in gross paddy sown area of over 109 per cent in Kharif and over 116 per cent in Rabi during the period from 2018-19 to 2020-21. There has also been an enormous increase in productivity of paddy,” the memorandum said.


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