Telangana

Officials and rice millers exploiting paddy farmers: Ponnala

Former PCC president and senior Congress leader Ponnala Lakshmaiah said that officials in connivance with rice millers are exploiting farmers in the ongoing procurement with faulty moisture meters to gauge the moisture content in paddy.

Mr. Lakshmaiah said the meters are showing 23% moisture content even in sand when it was checked by the Congress leaders visiting the procurement centres. Is this possible in the summer when the temperatures are 40 degrees Celsius and above, he asked at a press conference here.

In support of his argument, he played a video of a machine that showed 18.7% moisture content when sand was poured into it, and to the surprise of the farmers there, the machine showed 1.7% moisture level when nothing was poured into it. Similarly, paddy that was was dried over 12 days in the hot summer also showed 23% moisture content.

Mr. Lakshmaiah said when officials were confronted with the faulty reading, the moisture meter was rearranged and fixed at 14%. This only shows that farmers are being taken for a ride across the State and are losing money heavily with millers paying less, citing faulty moisture content.

The Congress leader said the government has to pay Minimum Support Price of ₹1,960 even if the moisture content is 33% in paddy as per the norms. But millers are being favoured by the officials with the support of the government and local TRS leaders. Officials are also procuring 1.2 kgs of additional paddy for each gunny bag though it weighs just 600 grams.

He said there’s shortage of gunny bags and the State government cannot go on blaming the Centre for it. He said gunny bag suppliers have backed off as the government has not paid last year’s dues.

The Congress leader also claimed that 11% of the paddy procured is being looted by the officials and millers and it’s reflected in the difference between the quantity lifted from procurement centres from the quantity paid to farmers. He wanted Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao to immediately review the ongoing procurement process and save farmers.

Mr. Lakshmaiah also attacked the Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying he failed Telangana in the last 8 years and hoped at least he would speak truth at the ISB convocation.


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Printable version | May 26, 2022 2:26:33 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/officials-and-rice-millers-exploiting-paddy-farmers-ponnala/article65460260.ece