Hyderabad, Jul 29: Taking strong objection to Telugu Desam Party President N Chandrababu Naidu's allegation that rice supplied to those below poverty line by the Congress Government was ''unfit for consumption even by animals,'' Andhra Pradesh Finance Minister K Rosaiah on Tuesday, July 29 challenged Mr Naidu to come for a 'surprise check'' of godowns to prove his accusation.
Reacting to the Opposition leader's charge that the subsidised rice ''was only fit for performing rites to ancestors'', the Finance Minister told the press here ''we normally give the best of offerings to our ancestors out of love and not substandard things as claimed by Mr Naidu. ''The TDP chief is totally frustrated due to the popularity of government schemes, including Rs two-a-kg rice scheme and Rajiv Gandhi Arogyasri,'' he claimed.
Unlike the previous TDP Government which imported rice from Punjab, the present Congress Government procured A grade rice produced within the state and was liked by the people, Mr Rosaiah explained. ''People very well know he (Mr Naidu) is making a host of promises indiscriminately knowing he has no chance of coming back to power,'' he contended.
He wanted to know from Mr Naidu, who had promised to provide rice free of cost if voted to power in the next elections, as to why he had not implemented it when the TDP was in power for nine long years. On the other hand, Mr Naidu had withdrawn the Rs two-a-kg rice scheme introduced by his father-in-law and Former Chief Minister N T Rama Rao and increased the price of subsidised rice to Rs 5.25 per kg, he recalled.
While the TDP Government made available only 17.42 lakh tonnes of rice for the poor in 2001-02, 20 lakh tonnes in 2002-03 and 21 lakh tonnes in 2003-04, the Congress Government was distributing 63 lakh tonne of rice this year, the minister pointed out.