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TS govt may procure red gram if Centre fails to respond

Hyderabad: The State government is willing to step in and procure red gram from distressed farmers in the State if the Centre failed to respond to its repeated pleas to increase the cap on procurement of red gram from 75,300 metric tonnes under the Procurement Stabilisation Fund Scheme, said Agriculture Secretary C Partha Sarathi.

Partha Sarathi, while speaking to ‘Telangana Today’ on the issue, however, made it clear that this would be the last resort. “The State government has not received any response from either the Ministry of Marketing or the Ministry of Consumer Affairs till Wednesday evening. If the department doesn’t receive any positive indication from the Union government within a couple of days, the government is planning to procure red gram to ensure justice to red gram farmers,” he said.

“It is the last option, but we still have confidence on the Centre,” he said, and added that all red gram farmers would be given fair price under one or the other scheme. “But don’t rush to the markets and sell your produce to middle-men at low prices,” the secretary added.

The State government has already given bank guarantee of Rs 600 crore to both NAFED and HACA for payment to farmers after red gram procurement. The department has already procured around 1.30 MT against the cap of 75,300 MT. “By availing more loans from banks, the government is ready to give MSP to the farmers,” Partha Sarathi said.

There have been reports that some of the 106 red gram procurement centres in the State had shut down operations on account of the glut in the market and in the absence of positive response from the Centre. Farmers reaped a bumper harvest this year and are still left with huge unsold stocks. They are eagerly looking towards the State and Centre for market intervention to ensure a fair deal.

About 2.84 lakh metric tonnes of red gram was produced in the State last Kharif, thanks to the marked improvement in irrigation facilities all over the State, with red gram crop grown in over 2.85 lakh hectares this season.

Agriculture Department has made several representations seeking timely intervention of the marketing agencies of the Central government to procure red gram stocks. Chief Minister K Chandrashkehar Rao had also requested the Centre to procure 2 lakh MT to bail out the red gram growers in the State.

The farmers have been staging protests in different yards where procurement by NAFED and HACA had been suspended. To ensure that red gram farmers get the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of Rs 5,450, Marketing Minister T Harish Rao wanted the Centre to extend the Price Stabilization Fund (PSF) scheme to the State for procuring red gram.

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from Telangana – Telangana Today

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