KCR vows to spearhead nation-wide farmers’ agitation, says Modi govt anti-farmer
Accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government at the Centre of adopting anti-farmer policies, Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on Thursday declared the Telangana Rashtra Samithi would spearhead the agitation of farmers across the country.
For the first time after taking over as the first chief minister of Telangana seven years ago, KCR sat on a dharna at Indira Park along with his party functionaries including MLAs and MPs, demanding that the Centre procure entire paddy produced in the state this Kharif season.
“Do you purchase paddy produced in Telangana or not? We want a straight answer from the Centre. There is a limit to our patience. We shall continue our fight till the Centre spells out its policy on paddy procurement,” the chief minister said, addressing the party leaders at the dharna.
In the afternoon, a delegation of TRS leaders led by agriculture minister T Niranjan Reddy, went to Raj Bhavan to submit a memorandum to Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan demanding that the Centre procure the entire paddy produced in the state.
Continuing the tirade against the Centre, the chief minister said these protests were just a beginning. “The war has just begun. The TRS will join the ongoing agitation of the formers of northern India and take up cudgels on their behalf. We shall not rest till we ensure security to our farmers’ future,” he said.
The chief minister sought to know whether the Modi government would allow farmers of the country to lead a happy life. “The farmers of North India have been agitating against the draconian farm laws for the last one year. But the Centre is adamantly rejecting their demands,” he alleged.
He also charged the Centre with harassing farmers by forcing them to install electric meters for their agriculture motors. “In Telangana, there is no question of allowing installation of meters for farm pumpsets. We are not charging water cess from farmers; instead, ours is the only state which is going round-the-clock free power supply to agriculture,” he claimed.
The chief minister pointed out that India has more than 100 million acres of land which can produce food for the entire globe. Yet, it is facing hunger. It is lagging behind Pakistan and Bangladesh in hunger index, he said.
Stating that the BJP had miserably failed to administer the country, KCR alleged that whenever there were elections, it was whipping up religious passions and instigating communal clashes, besides cashing in on the patriotic sentiments of the people by enacting dramas in the name of “surgical strikes.”
Reacting to KCR’s dharna, BJP leader and newly-elected Huzurabad MLA Eatala Rajender said the chief minister’s indifferent and arrogant attitude was the reason for the plight of farmers of Telangana.
“In the assembly, KCR went on record that his government would purchase every single grain from farmers. Now, he has thrown up his hands and is trying to shift the blame on the government,” he alleged.
Meanwhile, the Union ministry of consumer affairs, food and civil supplies made it clear that it would not purchase parboiled rice from any state hereafter, as there were more than enough buffer stocks in the country.
Though the Centre asked Telangana to supply only 24.75 lakh tonnes of parboiled rice during the last Rabi season, it wanted procurement of more quantity. On its request, the Centre agreed to purchase another 20 lakh tonnes, it said.
This season, the Centre had procured 60 lakh tonnes of paddy and 40 lakh tonnes of rice. “The state government, on Wednesday, requested enhancement of rice procurement target from 40 lakh tonnes to 90 per cent of the total production of 75.43 lakh tonnes. The request is under examination,” it said.