Telangana’s high-level negotiating delegation team, led by Agriculture Minister S Niranjan Reddy, came back empty-handed from New Delhi, with the Modi’s Government standing firm in its refusal to buy parboiled rice from the state.
Telangana State Chief Minister KCR (Kalvakuntla Chandrashekar Rao), who led the paddy delegation team, returned to the state’s capital two days ago, disappointed by the Union Government’s ‘cold response’ over buying the parboiled rice.
On Friday, the remaining team, which included a few Ministers and MPs, met with Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food, Public Distribution System, and Commerce Piyush Goyal.
‘Our efforts to persuade them to purchase parboiled rice from the state were futile. Piyush Goyal stated that the Union Government is not prepared to purchase rabi rice. We are disappointed, Niranjan Reddy said following his meeting with Piyush Goyal.
‘They also refused to provide the Telangana State Government with an annual paddy procurement plan,’ he added.
The visiting Ministers brought to the Union Minister’s attention the fact that leaders of the BJP’s State unit are encouraging farmers to plant paddy during the rabi season, ignoring the fact that the BJP Government at the Centre was unwilling to buy the produce.
Opposition BJP and Congress have been criticizing the State Government for discouraging farmers from planting paddy during the rabi season. As the planting season approached, BJP and Congress leaders increased their criticism, demanding that the State Government purchase the produce.
Sensing negative political fallout, Chandrashekar Rao, also the President of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), flipped the script on the BJP, claiming that the Centre, not the State Government, had the final say in this matter.
He led a delegation to Delhi to gain clarity on the paddy procurement plan, and he advised farmers to postpone rabi sowing until the outcome of the talks was known.