Last Wednesday, CM Siddaramaiah accused the central government of creating impossible obstacles for the state government in fulfilling their poll promise of 10kg rice per person of a BPL family.
Talking with the press, he said that the state government had clearance from the FCI (Food Corporation Of India) to procure 2.28 lakh metric tons of rice at the cost of Rs 3,400 per quintal to roll out the ‘Anna Bhagya scheme by July 1st as established.
Conflicting the state interests, the central government directed the FCI to sell 15 lakh metric tons of rice and wheat to the open market and stop direct sales to the states with an exception to the northeast. This Decision was defended as a tool to prevent inflationary issues.
CM Siddaramaiah alleged, “The Central government is doing politics. We had written to them (FCI) on June 9 that they should give us 2.28 lakh metric tonnes of rice. They answered on June 12 that they will supply it. But, on June 14, the MD and the chairman of the FCI wrote to us that it cannot give us rice.”
“What should we conclude if they agree on June 12 saying that they have seven lakh metric tons of rice and later deny having rice?”.
“All of this vendetta politics, doing politics over giving rice to the poor. I have never come across (such a thing) before. Does the Central government grow rice? They procure it from farmers,”
He also called the center “anti-Karnataka” and “anti-Poor” as he described the nature of the center’s decision as politically motivated.
The Food and supplies minister reported that the state government has reached out to high rice-producing states like Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Punjab, and Andhra Pradesh to procure the rice.
“We are not getting rice from Andhra Pradesh or Telangana. Chhattisgarh has assured 1.15 lakh metric tons, but for only a month and at a higher cost,” the CM said.
In recent developments, Punjab’s AAP-led government has come forward offering the rice required to fulfill Karnataka’s ambitious “Anna-Bhagya” program, but the state government speculates on the costs.
CM Siddaramaiah said The FCI authorities charge Rs 34 per kg plus a transportation charge of Rs 2.6 per kg, together it costs us Rs 36.6 per kg, “Will they supply it at this rate (the FCI rate at Rs 36.6/kg)? We will talk to the Punjab government again,”.
Amidst all this, the BJP MP from south Bangalore, took shots at the congress government alleging that the state government is lying and blaming the center for its incompetence.
Mr. Surya said, “If at all the Congress is serious about their commitment to providing 10 kg rice to people of Karnataka as per their poll promise, they must procure 10 kg rice from open market and distribute it in addition to the 5 kg rice given by the Modi government under the NFSA (National Food Security Act).”
Criticizing the state government for the blame game, B S Yediyurappa said, “The Congress party is trying to create confusion intentionally. Already, the Central government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is giving 5 kg rice free of cost (to each member of a BPL family),”.
“The Centre had not agreed to give additional rice. It is the responsibility of the state government. The promise of giving an additional 5 kg of rice by purchasing it should be fulfilled. People will not accept food grain less than even by a gram. I stress that they should fulfill their promises”, he added.