Hyderabad: Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao on Thursday came down heavily on the Centre for its anti-farmer policies and declared that the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) is ready to lead a nation-wide agitation of farmers.
Making it clear that positions of power were never dear to TRS and that he was not afraid of any cases, Rao vowed to carry on the fight for protecting the interests of farmers till the last drop of his blood.
KCR was addressing ministers, MPs, state legislators and other TRS leaders after leading a three-hour long ‘maha dharna’ at Indira Chowk here to protest the Centre’s policies on rice procurement.
The TRS chief asked the Centre to clarify whether it will procure rice from the state or not.
“We are asking a simple and straight question. Will you procure rice during the ongoing rainy season or not, will you take 5 lakh tonnes of rice which was not procured during the previous Kharif season or not, and do you want Telangana farmers to grow paddy during coming Kharif season or not,” said the chief minister, who also wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the same issue on Wednesday.
He alleged that instead of giving a clear reply to the question, the Centre was adopting delaying tactics creating confusion among farmers while state BJP leaders were trying to provoke farmers for their political mileage.
KCR tore into the BJP government at the Centre saying people have understood all its drama of whipping up communal passions by pitting one section of people against the other and cashing in on the sentiments.
“Times have changed. People have understood. Your surgical strikes, your dramas on border and all your cheatings stand totally exposed,” he said.
The TRS chief said BJP has been ruling the country by uttering lies, spreading hate on Facebook and WhatsApp and by resorting to character assassination of its critics.
KCR said the voice of farmers of Telangana was not the only voice in the country as lakhs of farmers have been protesting for more than a year in north India demanding the Centre to repeal anti-farmer laws. He alleged that the ruling party was trying to suppress the protest by farmers.
KCR said all the parties who ruled the country since independence have miserably failed in addressing the problems of people, half of whom rely on agriculture.
He pointed out that India is lagging behind countries like Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan on the global hunger index. “Can anything be more shameful than this?” he asked.
The TRS chief said this was the situation despite the fact that the country has 12 crore farmers, 40 crore acre of cultivable land, abundant water resources and best scientists.
KCR reminded the Centre that procurement of agricultural produce was its responsibility as the Food Corporation of India (FCI) comes under its control and it has godowns across the country and can even export the food grains.
The chief minister listed out the steps taken by his government since formation of Telangana state to revive the agriculture sector. He said the government improved the irrigation facility by completing several projects and revival of tanks, overcame electricity shortage to ensure round the clock free supply to farmers and was providing investment support and extending insurance facility to cultivators.
He claimed that no other state in the country was providing 24 hour free electricity to farmers and implementing schemes like Rythu Bandhu and Rythu Bhima.