Continuing to increase the pressure on the Union government to procure paddy from Telangana during the summer, the leaders and activists of the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) under the leadership of the ministers held the dharna before Collectorates across the state on Thursday. They brandished slogans against the Center.
TRS incumbent chairman and IT and municipal government minister KT Rama Rao said it was the responsibility of the center to procure paddy from the state. Attending a dharna held in front of Sircilla Collectorate, Mr Rama Rao said they would stage a protest in New Delhi on April 11 so that the pressure would be felt by the Union government.
Showing the placard “The Center should procure paddy from Telangana”, the Minister of Finance and Health, T. Harish Rao, participated in the dharna before the Collectorate of Siddipet. “In the past, we fought for Telangana. Now we are fighting for the farmers of Telangana. In the past, every government bought paddy from the state and we demand to follow the same and it was genuine,” Mr. Harish Rao said, adding that farmers are forced to be on the road due of the Centre’s anti-farmer policies. Many farmers were present.
Attending a protest outside the Sangareddy Collectorate, Livestock Minister Talasani Sinivas Yadav said the struggle in the center will continue until the last grain of paddy is bought from the state.
Satyavathi Rathod, Minister of Tribal and Women’s Welfare, a dharna participant in Mahabubabad, said the Center was trying to shirk its responsibility of procuring paddy from farmers. Informing that they are going to hold a protest in New Delhi on April 11, she called on farmers to lend their support.
“The Union government should not create another confrontational situation with the farmers by canceling the purchase of paddy. If the government does not accept the farmers’ demands, the farmers of Telangana will be forced to demonstrate in Delhi. The central government should not discriminate between farmers,” said MLC K. Kavitha, while addressing a news channel.
In Nirmal, the protests were led by Endowments Minister A. Indrakaran Reddy. “The Center intentionally created problems for farmers. BJP leaders who asked farmers to sow paddy are not visible now and they are trying to hide,” Mr Indrakaran Reddy said.
“The state should not store food grains. It was the responsibility of the Food Corporation of India (FCI) under Center to take care of the matter. We will continue our agitation until our demand is met,” Civil Supplies Minister Gangula Kamalakar said while attending Karimnagar.
Agriculture Minister S. Niranjan Reddy has asked BJP leaders why they are keeping silent now when the Center is not showing up to procure paddy. He said there would be more broken rice after milling in the summer, so they asked the Center to get paddy instead of rice.
Energy Minister G. Jagadish Reddy and Interior Minister Mahmood Ali participated in protests in Nalgonda. Mr. Jagadish Reddy said that the Center must procure paddy according to law and Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao will not allow farmers to suffer no matter what.