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No issue in procurement of raw rice in Telangana: Goyal

New Delhi.A day after farmers held a state-wide protest over delay in paddy procurement in Telangana, Union Food Minister Piyush Goyal on Tuesday said there was ”no issue” in purchase of ‘raw rice’ which has risen significantly and asked the state government not to ”mislead” cultivators.

However, in case of procurement of parboiled rice, the minister said the state government itself had committed in October 2021 that it will not deliver parboiled rice to the central pool in future.

Further, the Telangana government has not yet delivered to the central pool about 27 lakh tonnes of rice procured during last year’s rabi season, comprising 14 lakh tonnes parboiled rice and the rest 13 lakh tonnes raw rice, he said in a statement.

The Centre had repeatedly given extensions to the state government for the delivery of rice.

”The Telangana Government should quickly supply the agreed quantity of rice grown in last year’s Rabi season as per the agreement, and it should not mislead the farmers in the state,” the minister said.

Goyal further said there was ”no issue” in the purchase of raw rice and the government-run Food Corporation of India (FCI) had significantly increased purchases from the state.

The central government has given top priority to the welfare of farmers all over the country, including Telangana, he added.

On parboiled rice procurement, the minister said FCI has enough stocks to meet demand for four years and an MoU with the state government clearly says that the corporation’s purchase of rice for the central pool will depend on demand in the rest of the country.

Still as a special gesture, the central government had agreed to procure an additional 20 lakh tonnes of parboiled rice of last year’s rabi season despite no such requirement in the country, he said.

”Accordingly, the Telangana government had given a written commitment in a letter dated October 4, 2021 that the State will not deliver parboiled rice to the FCI in future,” Goyal pointed out.

Stating that there is no problem in availability of rakes and storage space, the minister said ”the state must supply the agreed quantity of grain instead of making wild allegations.” The central government is always with the farmers and people of Telangana and it will always take steps for their welfare, he noted.

On Monday, farmers in Telangana had held a day-long protest across the state over delay in procurement of paddy.PTI