TRS MPs stage walkout from Rajya Sabha over paddy procurement

Hyderabad: Members of the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) have staged a walkout from Rajya Sabha expressing disapproval to the reply from Union minister of Food and Public distribution, Piyush Goyal on the question of paddy procurement from Telangana.

The Union minister held the Telangana government responsible for poor maintenance of records and improper supply of rice as per the agreement. TRS MPs alleged that the Centre’s stand is unclear on the issue of procuring parboiled rice.

With paddy crop lying in the field and the prediction of a cyclonic storm soon to hit the Odisha coast, leaders of Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) criticized the central government for not procuring its surplus grain grown by farmers.

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Raising the issue in the zero-hours in Rajya Sabha on Friday, BJD leader Prasanna Charya said the central government has issued an order not to procure a “single grain” of parboiled rice from Odisha and other states like Telangana.

MPs from Telangana’s TRS party, Keshava Reddy and K Suresh Reddy stated that it would be dangerous to wait until March to find out if the Union will procure paddy or not and as such, minister Goyal has to respond about the status of procurement in the future rabi season.

However, Union minister Piyush Goyal responded to all the criticism levied by Telangana and Odisha ministers and stated that the Union cannot violate the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) the Centre has with all the states in the country. “The MoU’s clause 18 states that if any state overshoots the stocks of its rice, the excess stocks will be handed over to that state government itself,” he said.

“There is no need to bring up the issue over and over again. The Centre has never shied away from giving Telangana an extension. It has time and again helped Odisha as well. Telangana’s original target for parboiled rice was 45 lakh metric tonnes. They ended up supplying 28 lakh metric tonnes and are yet to give the rest. Why don’t they supply the rest before discussing the future?” he questioned.

Goyal further added that the Center cannot procure rice if it is not in the interest of other states. “We cannot force people of other states to eat parboiled rice just because it is grown in Odisha. If there isn’t a demand from other states, we cannot do much.”

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