Piyush accuses TS of threatening Centre; it’s other way round: Harish

In fact, he went on to say that unlike Telangana rice, Punjab rice could be sold across the country.

Published: 02nd April 2022 03:38 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd April 2022 03:38 AM   |  A+A-

Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal (Photo | PTI)

Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: The remarks Union Civil Supplies Minister Piyush Goyal made in Rajya Sabha on Friday, claiming that a delegation that met him recently issued threats from a Chief Minister on the procurement of paddy generated much political heat in the State.

While replying to questions on paddy procurement, the Union Minister made a veiled attack on the delegation of Telangana Ministers, which met him recently, as well as on Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao.

“Delegation after delegation came to us for several times. Kuch Mukyamantriyon dwara dhamkiya dee gayee (a few of the Chief Ministers issued threats). Delegations of Ministers came repeatedly and had a detailed discussion,” Goyal said. 

He, however, reiterated that the Centre would procure only raw rice from Telangana.  In fact, he went on to say that unlike Telangana rice, Punjab rice could be sold across the country. This invited sharp criticism from Finance Minister T Harish Rao. Speaking in Hyderabad, he alleged: “We are not threatening the Centre. In fact, it is the Centre which is threatening us and prompting IT raids against the opponents.”

Agriculture Minister Singireddy Niranjan Reddy too hit back at Goyal’s comments and said the Centre is mocking the people of Telangana. In the Rajya Sabha, while replying to GVL Narasimha Rao’s question, Goyal had said that the Central government’s procurement policy is very clear and added that “he could not help those who were unable to understand the same”. 

Misinformation

While reiterating that the Food Corporation of India (FCI) would procure the entire stock of raw rice from Telangana as it is being done in Punjab, he alleged that the TRS government was misleading the farmers of Telangana with misinformation. 

As the paddy produced in Telangana was useful only for parboiled rice, the State government wanted the Centre to procure paddy instead of rice. Piyush Goyal stated that Telangana had already given a written commitment that they would supply only raw rice to the Centre. 

Asking a supplementary question in Rajya Sabha, TRS Parliamentary Party leader K Keshava Rao wanted the Union Minister to clarify whether or not the FCI would procure Rabi paddy from Telangana. 

Keshava Rao pointed out that there was no ‘rice’ word either in the Constitution or in the MoU signed between the Centre and States. “It was paddy in the books and the Centre should procure only paddy from the State,” he said.

“Different states would cultivate different varieties of paddy and the Centre should not show discrimination towards any State based on the variety of the rice. The Centre should procure only paddy,” he said.

With both the State and Centre not willing to budge from their respective stands, there is seems to be no solution in sight, at least for now, for Rabi paddy procurement issue.

Malpractice 

In his written reply to GVL Narasimha Rao’s main question, Goyal said that instances of malpractice in procurement of paddy in Telangana have come to the notice, on physical verification of the paddy stocks procured/stored during KMS 2020-21 and KMS 2021-22. The shortages in Rabi crop in KMS 20202-21 are 1,96,177 bags (7,847 tonnes in 21 rice mills) and shortages in Kharif crop in KMS 2021-22 are 2,57,719 bags (10,309 tonnes in 19 rice mills), a total shortage of 4,53,896 bags (18,156 tonnes in 40 rice mills).



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