Hyderabad, April 6 (NSS): Calling the ongoing tussle between the Telangana and Central Govt over paddy procurement a scripted drama between ruling TRS and BJP, the Congress party on Wednesday warned both the governments of serious consequences if they fail to procure even a single grain of paddy produced by Telangana farmers.
“BJP Ministers are making false claims in the Lok Sabha over paddy procurement while TRS MPs are enacting the drama of protest both inside and outside the Parliament. The TRS and BJP leaders are indulging in blame games to keep the attention of people diverted from their failures. Let them play whatever gimmicks they want to play for the next few days. But once the cropping season is over, both TRS and BJP Govts must ensure that every grain produced by Telangana farmers is purchased,” demanded former Minister Mohammed Ali Shabbir Ali while addressing a massive protest at Kamareddy Collectorate as part of nationwide protest call given by the All India Congress Committee (AICC) against the rising fuel prices and farmers issues.
Shabbir Ali said that most of the farmers in Telangana got habituated to paddy farming as they find it both convenient and profitable. Compared to superfine rice, he said many farmers make good profits in parboiled rice. However, both BJP and TRS Govts have been creating unnecessary issues over paddy procurement for the last three-four seasons. He said that the BJP Govt at the Centre should not discriminate against Telangana in paddy procurement. Similarly, he said if the Centre fails to procure paddy, the TRS Govt should procure the entire paddy. “Telangana has an annual budget of about Rs. 2.56 Lakh Crore. It should not be a problem for TS Govt to spend Rs. 10,000 to procure entire paddy from farmers. If Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao is serious should take steps to start all 7,500 IKP centres, distribute gunny bags and fix quota for millers,” he demanded adding that farmers would not gain anything out of protests being organised by the TRS leaders. “This is apparently happening for the first time in independent India when a ruling party is organising a protest on an issue which can be easily solved by its own government,” he said.
The Congress leader also accused Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao of neglecting the welfare of farmers in Telangana State. He said that the claim over the success of Rythu Bandhu and other schemes was just a hype to suppress the real situation. “When Congress pointed out the increase in the number of suicides by farmers, the ruling TRS party claimed that the suicide figure was almost nil across the State. However, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar released the official figures in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday which revealed that as many as 5,591 farmers of Telangana committed suicide from 2014 to 2020 due to various reasons. “At least two farmers are committing suicide in Telangana every day due to different reasons. Instead of living in a denial mode, CM KCR must learn to accept reality and take measures to prevent such suicides. He should stop lying to paddy farmers regarding procurement and ensure that every grain produced by them is purchased,” he demanded.
Speaking about the rising prices of fuel, Shabbir Ali said that Telangana was among the States which are collecting the highest Value Added Tax on petrol and diesel. He said while many States had reduced the VAT in the recent past, Telangana Govt refused to reduce VAT. Consequently, the cost of a litre of petrol in Hyderabad has increased to Rs. 119.49 while the diesel prices have increased to Rs. 105.49 per litre. “Both BJP and TRS have crossed all limits of shame. Instead of finding solutions to help the people, they are finding new excuses to blame others for the present crisis,” he said while pointing out that when the price of crude oil was $108.05 per barrel on May 26, 2014, it used to cost just Rs. 714 to get a full tank of fuel for a scooter/bike. Now crude oil costs just $99.42 per barrel. But a common man needs to spend Rs. 1,038 to fill a tank of bike/petrol, he said.
He said that the Congress party has kept a close watch on the entire process of paddy crop. “We will not rest until BJP and TRS Govt purchases the entire paddy crop,” he announced.
Congress leaders including Kamareddy DCC President Kailas Srinivas, Banswada coordinator Kasula Balraj, Yellareddy Assembly coordinator Vaddepalli Subhash Reddy and other senior Congress leaders participated in the dharna. Later, they submitted a memorandum to the Kamareddy Collector requesting for procurement of the entire paddy crop.