Telangana govt’s decision on superfine variety paddy sparks war of words

Sources in the government, meanwhile, are arguing that the Cabinet took this decision in the best interests of the farmers and the state.
Labourers move sacks of paddy grain at a wholesale grain market.
Labourers move sacks of paddy grain at a wholesale grain market. (Photo | PTI)

HYDERABAD: The state government’s decision to give Rs 500 bonus per quintal to farmers who produce superfine variety of paddy led to a war of words between the ruling party leaders and their counterparts from the opposition.

During its campaign in the 2023 Assembly elections, the Congress promised to give Rs 500 bonus to farmers for every per quintal of paddy. However, in recent a Cabinet meeting, the Congress government decided to provide bonus to only superfine variety of paddy.

Criticising the Congress for its decision, the BRS and BJP leaders are alleging that it is nothing but cheating the farmers.

Leaders of both parties are not only targeting the Congress government on this issue but are also making it a poll issue in the upcoming Warangal-Khammam-Nalgonda graduates MLC byelection.

The Congress, however, is justifying government’s decision, saying that bonus for superfine variety is a first step and later it will be extend to all types of paddy.

Though Agriculture Minister Tummala Nageshwar Rao assured that step by step they will extend bonus to all types, the opposition leaders are relentless in their attack on the ruling party.

Sources in the government, meanwhile, are arguing that the Cabinet took this decision in the best interests of the farmers and the state.

Officials say that the government intends to supply superfine rice to schools under the Mid-day meals scheme, government hostels and ration card holders to avoid the import of superfine and it also wants to encourage the farmers to cultivate superfine variety of paddy.

“The Food Corporation of India (FCI) is also not showing interest in procuring the coarse variety rice because of lack of demand,” they add.

As the yield of superfine variety of paddy is less than that of a coarse variety of paddy, the government wants to fill the gap with bonus.

Officials recalled that in 2022-23, the yield of coarse variety of rice was 178. 46 lakh metric tonnes (LMT) and superfine variety was 79.74 LMT. In 2023-24, the yield of coarse variety was 174.18 LMT and superfine variety was 86.26 LMT. By analysing these figures, officials are stressing that there is a need to increase cultivation of superfine variety of paddy.

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