Congress leader and former minister Mohammed Ali Shabbir today made shocking allegations against the Telangana government, and accused it of having indulged in a huge scam in the procurement of agricultural produce from the farmers of the state.
"Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao's claim that the state government had purchased the crops grown by Telangana's farmers at the relevant MSPs despite suffering losses of nearly Rs 7,500 crore in the process, is a highly dubious one. Many sources say that the CM has issued this statement only to cover up a major scam. The state government reportedly procured crops from the farmers at dirt cheap prices by citing lack of demand. It is highly ridiculous to say that there was no demand for staple items like paddy, sorghum, maize, red gram, Bengal gram and sunflower. Also, if the government's claim regarding the falling demand of the produce was indeed true, this should have been reflected in a commensurate fall in the prices of the same in the retail market," he said.
The Congress leader also hinted at the involvement of various other government agencies in the scam.
"We strongly suspect that the TRS leaders colluded with the members of the Rythu Bandhu Samitis and the officials of the agriculture department to pull off the scam. Together, they sold the agricultural produce at very cheap rates to a set of pre-determined buyers. We also suspect that the TRS leaders had inflated the procurement figures to pocket hundreds of crores by showing the sale of non-existent crops. This has not only led to huge losses to the state's exchequer, but has also impacted the farmers negatively," he said.
The Congress leader demanded a high-level probe into the government's procurement processes, and also asked the government to release a white paper (an authoritative report) containing the complete details of the various crops procured from the farmers along with the list of the buyers.
Targeting Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, Shabbir Ali criticised the former for his "patronising" attitude towards the farmers, and said that if the government had at all purchased the crops at the MSP, they had not done a personal favour to the farmers.
He also criticised the marked change in KCR's stance on the issue of the union government's three farm Acts.
"The Chief Minister's statement, issued on December 27 in support of the protesting farmers in Delhi, was just an empty gesture as he was only enacting a drama to gain political mileage by opposing the BJP-led union government's farm laws. This became obvious when he changed his stand after his recent visit to Delhi
. As always, he took a U-turn from his previous stand. Following the visit, KCR openly stated that it was not possible to set up purchase centres in the villages from next year. In an attempt to justify this, he claimed that since the new farm Acts allowed the farmers to sell their produce anywhere, no crop procurement centres would be needed following their implementation. Now he is even saying that the laws will benefit the farming community," Shabbir Ali said.