TRS takes fight to Delhi to protest paddy procurement issue

Hyderabad: The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) has taken its fight over paddy procurement to the national capital as the entire state Cabinet is set to sit on a day-long dharna there on Monday.

Demanding the Centre to procure the entire paddy from Telangana during ongoing Rabi season, state ministers, MPs, state legislators and other public representatives of TRS will stage the protest.

Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao is likely to lead the sit-in, though the party is yet to announce this officially. KCR, as Rao is popularly known, is camping in the national capital for the last six days on personal work.

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Over 1,000 leaders from the TRS will participate in the protest, the first public protest by TRS in the national capital over the issue of paddy procurement.

The party also expects Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait and leaders of other farmers’ groups to participate and show their solidarity.

The protest in Delhi is the final of the five-phase protest announced by the TRS early this month. During the last one week, the party staged protests across the state. Ministers, MPs, state legislators and other public representatives and leaders participated in the protests, which included ‘rasta roko’ on the Mumbai, Bengaluru, Vijayawada, and Nagpur national highways.

The protest was launched after a ministerial delegation returned empty handed from Delhi after meeting with Union Food Minister Piyush Goyal. While the four-member delegation demanded that the Centre procure paddy from Telangana as procured by it from Punjab, the central minister said the Centre will procure only raw rice and not paddy.

Since Telangana produces only parboiled rice during Rabi season, the state is insisting that the Centre procure paddy. The TRS government has accused Centre of adopting discriminatory attitude towards Telangana and is demanding a uniform procurement policy for the entire country.

As part of the protest in Delhi, hoardings with the state’s demands and KCR’s photographs have come up in the national capital.

KCR’s daughter and member of Telangana Legislative Council K. Kavitha is overseeing the arrangements at the protest site in Delhi. She said that policies of the Central government are a threat to the national food security system and that the TRS party will fight for the interest of the farmers.

In November last year, KCR along with his Cabinet colleagues had staged ‘dharna’ in Hyderabad, demanding an assurance from the Centre to procure paddy.

Last month, KCR had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to direct the Ministry of Food to procure entire paddy from the state during the current Rabi season.

He also demanded a meeting of agriculture experts and Chief Ministers to formulate a suitable national procurement policy.

KCR wrote that there should be a national food grains procurement policy, which should be uniform throughout the country and cover all food grains.

Meanwhile, TRS leaders have launched a campaign to expose state BJP leaders who had assured farmers that they will make the Centre procure paddy. The TRS leaders recalled that when the state government was appealing to farmers not to go for paddy cultivation in view of the Centre’s refusal to buy parboiled rice, BJP leaders had instigated farmers to grow paddy.

TRS Working President K. T. Rama Rao and other party leaders have posted on Twitter several videos of BJP’s state President Bandi Sanjay and Union Minister G. Kishan Reddy, who had assured farmers that the Centre will buy every grain from them.

The TRS leaders are questioning the silence of state BJP leaders now when the Centre is refusing to procure paddy.

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