Former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Venkiah Naidu has urged the Centre to permit the export of food grains, particularly rice and wheat, at the earliest, “as the domestic prices are very low and international prices are very high due to drop in production in Russia and other countries.”

Talking to reporters here on Friday, he said that the prices had slumped much below the minimum support price. “While the price of paddy has come down to Rs.825 per quintal, the cost of production has gone up considerably.”

Input costs had shot up and labour had become expensive, and farmers were not getting remunerative prices.

The Food Corporation of India was not procuring grains for lack of storage facility. “The State agencies are not coming forward (to procure), leaving paddy farmers at the mercy of millers and traders.”

Mr. Naidu also demanded the immediate recall of the Lt. Governor of Puducherry, Iqbal Singh, for his alleged links with Hasan Ali Khan, a Pune-based stud farm owner, who is alleged to be the country's biggest money launderer and tax evader.

He said that Mr. Singh's relationship with Mr. Khan would seriously endanger national security.