No response from Centre on KCR’s deadline

TS government agreed in writing to use piled up stock of paddy to promote rice bran oil mills, say officials

The Centre remained unmoved even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced repeal of farm laws on day one after Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao set a two-day deadline to it to respond to the dharna by him and his Cabinet colleagues demanding procurement of boiled rice produced in ensuing rabi from the State.

But, official sources of the Ministry of Food and Public Distribution System have already confirmed, off the record, that only raw rice produced from just concluded kharif alone would be procured henceforth. The Food Corporation of India will not be given permission to procure boiled rice that is produced in rabi because it has these stocks that were sufficient to meet the country’s requirement for four years.

The sources circulated a note that said the FCI procured both raw rice of kharif and boiled rice of rabi from the State in excess of the fixed targets in all seasons from 2016-17 to kharif of 2020-21. It was only in rabi of 2021-21 that the procurement of boiled rice was restricted due to a mismatch in production and consumption levels.

Though only 24.75 lakh tonnes was set for procurement in that season, the FCI was permitted to lift another 20 lakh tonnes as a one-time concession on the request of the Chief Minister.

The Telangana government also agreed in writing not to ask FCI to buy any more boiled rice and instead use the stocks to promote rice bran oil mills by incentivising them.

As of October 11, the FCI had boiled rice stock of 46.28 lakh tonnes and another 32.73 lakh tonnes was yet to reach its godowns. With a storage of 79 lakh tonnes thus, the FCI had stocks to meet the requirements of boiled rice consuming States for four years. The annual consumption in these States was only 20 lakh tonnes.

Also, the boiled rice consuming States have stepped up their own production which has slowed down movement of stocks from FCI godowns. On the other hand, Telangana produced boiled rice, but consumed raw rice which added to piling up of stocks.

Reacting to the demand of the Chief Minister to enhance the target of procurement or raw rice in kharif of 2020-21 from 40 to 90 lakh tonnes, the Ministry officials denied such large quantity as the expected yield was only 54.27 lakh tonnes.

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