Political slugfest continues in Telangana over farmers' problems


by IANS | Sat, May 25, 2024, 12:46 PM

Hyderabad, May (IANS) The slugfest between Telangana's opposition and ruling parties continues over farmers' problems and the promise of bonus on paddy.

Stepping up the pressure on the Congress government, Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) leader T. Harish Rao on Friday said farmers would organise a 'Chalo Assembly’ protest in July when a full-fledged Budget session will be held.

"Farmers will lay siege to the Assembly and inside the House, we will take the government to task," he said.

Harish Rao visited a village in Khammam district and met a group of farmers who had declared a crop holiday. The former minister claimed that farmers have declared a crop holiday as they are not getting adequate water for irrigation, and the Congress government has failed to come to their rescue.

"This government has failed in providing water for irrigation, ensuring uninterrupted power supply and in providing seeds," he said, alleging that during the last six months of Congress rule, farmers have suffered on every front. He reiterated the demand that the government should pay a bonus of Rs 500 per quintal for all varieties of paddy as promised by the Congress during the Assembly elections while slamming the government for putting a rider that a bonus will be paid only for fine varieties from the next year.

"We will not leave this government till it implements all the promises made to farmers," he said.

Harish Rao demanded that the government provide Rs 7,500 per acre for farmers for the coming crop season as per the promise made to extend financial assistance of Rs 15,000 annually under the Rythu Bharosa scheme. He also slammed the government for failing to implement the promise of farm loan waivers to the tune of Rs 2 lakh. He also wanted to know from the government as to when agriculture labourers will get Rs 12,000 financial assistance as promised by it.

Harish Rao had Thursday visited paddy procurement centres in Jagtial and Jayashankar Bhupalpally districts and alleged that the government failed to procure paddy on time, causing losses to farmers.

The BJP is also targeting the Congress government over the farmers’ issues.

Union Minister and state BJP President G. Kishan Reddy visited some paddy procurement centres and interacted with farmers to learn about their problems. He alleged that paddy farmers were suffering losses due to the indifferent attitude of the Congress government, quipping that the previous BRS government earned the wrath of farmers in 10 years but for Congress, it took only five months.

The BJP leader claimed that farmers brought their paddy to procurement centres 45 days ago but the government failed to procure it. He said despite the Centre agreeing to procure the coarse variety of rice, the state government is reluctant to procure it from farmers.

The ruling party, however, has denied any delay in procuring paddy. Its leaders accused BRS and BJP of politicising the issue to draw mileage.

Deputy Chief Minister Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka claimed that the government is procuring even the soaked and wet paddy. He assured paddy farmers that the government would continue procurement of paddy till the last grain.

He said that compared to the previous year, the procurement started 15 days early and the number of procurement centres also increased.

"We are committed to purchasing the entire paddy. Perhaps this commitment is not digestible to the opposition parties," he said.

The Deputy Chief Minister said the government was crediting the amount to farmers’ bank accounts within three days, claiming that no government in the past paid the amount within three days. He also brushed aside the criticism by the opposition parties over the paddy bonus issue. He said the government initiated the process to pay a bonus of Rs.500 per quintal with fine varieties of paddy.

The government says that it has so far procured 37.59 lakh tonnes of paddy so far against 33.97 lakh tonnes procured during the Rabi season of 2022-23.

Paddy procurement this year began on March 25 against April 9 last year. This time, the government has opened 7,171 paddy procurement centres against 6,889 last year.

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