Rs 15,000 crore loans to help Telangana buy paddy

Hyderabad: The state government secured a loan of Rs 15,000 crore from four banks to pay MSP (minimum support price) to farmers for purchasing paddy at rabi. The loan was secured by TS Civil Supplies Corporation with a bank guarantee provided by the state government.

More than 5,000 paddy supply centers will be opened in all major villages in the state initially on Thursday and paddy will be procured on a large scale from Friday. The government plans to increase the number of paddy supply centers to 7,000 by May 10 based on demand and the whole paddy supply process will be completed by June 15.

The MSP amount of Rs 1,960 per quintal will be directly credited to farmers’ accounts within a week of purchase.

The government is expected to buy nearly 65 lakh tons of paddy in rabi. However, as the Food Corporation of India (FCI) has not yet cleared stocks of Kharif paddy in the districts, the government is expected to face severe shortage of space.

Last year the government used private function halls and public schools, colleges, etc. which have been closed due to covid curbs for paddy storage but this will no longer be possible now with reception halls and educational establishments operating at full scale due to the lifting of covid curbs. .

Speaking to the media on Wednesday, Civil Supplies Minister Gangula Kamalakar said the Centre’s refusal to purchase paddy from Telangana in rabi will place a heavy financial burden on the state government. Despite this, the CM has decided to carry this burden for the benefit of farmers.

“The Centre, as well as the state leaders of the BJP, say they will buy raw rice and not boiled rice. We are ready to give you raw rice now. Let them specify how much raw rice they would buy in Telangana in rabi. If they go back even after donating raw rice, everyone will know that BJP Center and State leaders have deceived the farmers in Telangana again. We are writing a letter to the Center in this regard and we will await their response,” added Kamalakar.

In Telangana, usually boiled rice is produced in rice mills from paddy grown during the rabi season due to the hot conditions prevailing in the state in summer. If raw rice is produced in rabi like in Kharif, broken rice will come out which FCI does not take. In Kharif, for each quintal of rice (100 kg), 65 kg of raw rice are produced, but at rabi, only 32 kg of raw rice are produced. To avoid this loss, the millers opt for parboiled technology in rabi to produce 65 kg of boiled rice.

Now the Telangana government has agreed to bear the loss due to the production of raw rice in rabi. It remains to be seen whether the Center responds favorably to the TS government’s offer to supply raw rice even in rabi. The government could only recover part of its loan if FCI purchased raw rice and repaid the amount to the state government later. Otherwise, the government will be forced to auction the rice on the open market and may suffer huge losses because of it.

Garland K. Long