Challenges in procurement cast shadow on rice scheme in Karnataka
BENGALURU: Hinting at a possible shortfall of rice for the launch of Congress’ election promise, which guarantees 10kg of rice per below poverty line (BPL) cardholder, chief minister Siddaramaiah on Sunday said that the state government had approached Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh seeking additional procurement of 2.238 million tonnes (MT) of rice. However, they were unable to convince two of the three states.
This comes in the wake of the Centre refusing to give additional rice quantity of 2.28 lakh MT of the cereal requested by the state.
The CM said, “While Telangana declined to supply rice to the Karnataka government for our scheme, Andhra Pradesh remained indifferent and has not committed to providing us with the cereal. However, Chhattisgarh has agreed to offer partial relief.”
Siddaramaiah said the Congress government in Chhattisgarh has agreed to give 1.5 MT from its current stock but said it cannot give any more. “Even in the case of Chhattisgarh, the rates are slightly on the higher side but we are exploring other options too,” the CM added.
When asked why the state government is not exploring deals with local farmers to provide the rice, the CM said the prices offered by farmers are quite steep.
Centre playing politics by adding new orders: CM
Tell me where I will get rice in Karnataka? The prominent districts which grow rice, like Raichur, grow the sona masuri variety and the price is as high as Rs 55 per kilo. On the other hand, the Food Corporation of India (FCI) would provide us normal rice at Rs 36 per kilo, including Rs 2.5 towards transportation,” explained the CM.
Earlier, Siddaramaiah lashed out at the central government and reiterated his allegations that the Centre is playing politics with the Anna Bhagya scheme.
“The scheme is for poor people and the Centre is playing politics by adding new orders to deny poor the rice. While they are continuing to provide 5 kg of rice under NFSA, the FCI is not giving Karnataka government an additional 5 kg per person for our scheme,” he rued.
Siddaramaiah said he will be unable to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he goes to Delhi on June 21. “We had sought time with the PM but he would have left for the US. Maybe, next time when I go to Delhi, I will meet him,” he said.
Published Date: June 19, 2023