Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao on Monday demanded that the Centre procure the entire paddy crop from Telangana like it is doing from Punjab and also announce a uniform procurement policy for the entire country.
A delegation of state ministers and MPs will leave for Delhi on Tuesday to meet the Food Minister to press for their demands.
The decision was taken at a meeting of Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) legislators presided over by KCR, as the Chief Minister is popularly known.
The TRS chief warned the Centre of a massive protest if it failed to procure the entire yield of 30 lakh tonnes of paddy during Rabi season.
He said during the last Rabi season, paddy production was 54-55 lakh tonnes and this time, it is likely to come down to 35 lakh tonnes due to the efforts of the state government to encourage farmers to go for crop diversification. Of this, 3 lakh tonnes of paddy will be used for seeds while 2 lakh tonnes will be kept by farmers for their own use.
KCR made it clear that the food security of the country is the Constitutional responsibility of the Central government. “It can’t run away from this responsibility citing surplus production. Even if there is surplus production, the government should keep it as buffer stock, process it, or even bear some losses,” he said.
Stating that paddy procurement is a matter of life and death of farmers, he said the Centre should not create hurdles as it did in the previous season.
“You take paddy and pay MSP as you are doing in Punjab. Nothing plus nothing minus,” he said.
KCR demanded a uniform procurement policy for the entire country. He said there should not be different policies for different states.
He made it clear that in case the Centre failed to respond positively to the state’s request, there will be ‘action-oriented’ protests.
He said gram panchayats, Mandal parishads, Zilla Parishad, and municipalities will pass resolutions and send them to the Prime Minister urging him to procure the entire paddy from Telangana.
KCR also demanded Constitutional protection for farmers. “Include farmers’ rights in the Constitution to save them. The MSP, procurement, production all should be covered by the Constitution,” he said.
He said the Modi government should bring a Constitutional amendment in this regard to show its love for farmers.
The TRS leader urged the government to bring the Constitutional amendment during the ongoing session of Parliament and said his party and the entire country would support it.