HYDERABAD: Two District Collectors found themselves in the eye of a storm after their statements warning farmers and people went viral on social media on Tuesday. Even as Siddipet Collector P Venkatram Reddy sent out a warning to dealers that he would have their shops sealed if they were found selling paddy seeds to farmers, Jogulamba-Gadwal Collector Valluri Kranthi in a tweet said that no Aasara pension or ration would be provided to those who do not take the Covid-19 vaccine.
The Siddipet Collector, during a meeting on Monday, said: “As long as I am the Collector here, I will not allow any one to sell the paddy seeds. Even if you get an order from Supreme Court or High Court, I will not allow your shops to be opened. Even if any politician calls me on your behalf, your shops would remain shut for three months. I am saying this on record.”
Meanwhile, the Congress leaders moved in, targeting Siddipet Collector. TPCC chief A Revanth Reddy demanded action against the Collector for forcing the farmers to opt for other crops.Taking exception to the Collector’s statement that even if there is a Supreme Court order he would not allow reopening of shops, Revanth wondered whether the Apex Court was supreme or it was Venkatram Reddy. “I demand that the Telangana CMO to take immediate action,” he said.
Former Congress MP Ponnam Prabhakar said if Venkatram Reddy stopped sale of paddy seeds, the Congress would make them available to farmers. As the issue snowballed into a controversy, the Collector denied having made such a statement even though a video clip shows him warning the dealers. He said that he was only warning the dealers against selling spurious seeds. He also said his comments were in the interests of the farmers but they were twisted and distorted out of contest.
Meanwhile, after Jogulamba Gadwal Collector posted her tweet on suspending Aasara pensions and ration to those who do not take Covid vaccine, there were media reports stating that the Director of Public Health’s office has submitted the proposal to the government to this effect to boost vaccinations. However, Director of Health Dr G Srinivasa Rao issued a statement on Tuesday, denying the reports of him sending such a proposal for government’s consideration.