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Amid row with Centre, Telangana set to procure paddy from farmers, says KCR

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Hyderabad, Apr 12: Continuing his trenchant attack against the NDA government at the Centre over paddy procurement, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on Tuesday said the state government would open paddy procurement centres in the interest of farmers.

Amid row with Centre, Telangana set to procure paddy from farmers, says KCR

Speaking to reporters after a cabinet meeting, Rao also announced that he would soon convene a meeting of economists and farmers' leaders from all states to formulate an "integrated new agriculture policy" which would provide Constitutional safeguards to MSP. Rao, who held a dharna in Delhi on Monday demanding that the Centre procure paddy produced in Telangana during rabi season, claimed that his party has "sufficiently" exposed the NDA government for not agreeing to the demand and over its "wicked" anti-farmer attitude.

At the dharna in Delhi, he had set a 24-hour deadline to the Centre to respond to the demand for procuring paddy. "It is the duty of the Government of India to maintain the buffer stocks in the interest of the food security of the country, which you (the Centre) are forgetting, which you are escaping, which you are running away," he said. The TRS government sought to remind the Centre by holding protests about its responsibility to procure the farmers' produce, he said.

Claiming that the Modi government has waived loans to the tune of Rs 10.50 lakh crore for big corporates and those who cheated banks, he alleged that the Centre is, however, not ready to bear funds worth Rs 3,500 crore for the sake of farmers from a state. The nearly Rs 3,500 crore loss is due to the paddy produced during rabi season in Telangana yielding less quantity of rice as crop is harvested during summer.

Recalling that he had on Monday indicated that his government would not leave farmers in the lurch, the Chief Minister said paddy procurement centres would be opened in the state from Wednesday in all villages. In a broadside against BJP, he alleged that the intellectuals are of the view that the NDA government and BJP hurt the country in multiple ways and also fomenting communalism.

The BJP provoked communal feelings by raking up issues like the movie 'Kashmir Files' and terrorist attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama for political mileage in spite of price rise and other negative factors, he claimed. Referring to the violence during Ram Navami processions, he claimed that stone-pelting incidents happened in poll-bound states and not others. In a state like Karnataka, where Bengaluru is hailed as the Silicon Valley of India, there have been bans, including on hijab, halal meat, and not buying goods from shops run by Muslims, he said. Such issues would have a backlash, he claimed.

The country will have to pay a heavy price if it goes off track due to the communal issues and emotions, he said. Talking about the meeting of economists and farmers' representatives proposed to be organised by him in Hyderabad, Rao said the event would unveil an "integrated new agriculture policy", he said. Among others, the cabinet meeting approved establishment of five more private universities and proposed setting up pharma and aviation universities.

The construction of a second runway at the international airport here would be taken up soon, an official release said. The state government's decision to open paddy procurement centres came against the backdrop of a row over the issue between the TRS government and the Centre. While the state demanded procurement of paddy, the Centre said it would procure raw rice. Meanwhile, state BJP president Bandi Sanjay Kumar described the state government's decision to open paddy procurement centres as his party's victory. PTI

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