Irrigation, Food, and Civil Supplies Minister, N Uttam Kumar Reddy criticised the ‘distorted’ policy of the earlier BRS government, which entrusted paddy stocks worth ₹22,000 crore to rice millers without any security or bank guarantee.
The Minister said the Civil Supplies Corporation now finds itself in a precarious and alarming position, he said charging that the BRS government did not sell the rice to Karnataka and Tamil Nadu for political reasons despite their offer to purchase.
“The BRS government opted to let the rice deteriorate in godowns, burdening the corporation with interest expenses rather than selling the rice at market prices to Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. With limited storage space and a substantial interest burden, the corporation is in an alarming situation,” he said.
“We are exploring the sale of rice to Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and considering an open sale of paddy stocks through a transparent mechanism. We are making efforts to rescue the corporation from its precarious position,” he announced.
Mr. Reddy noted that the previous BRS Government left the Civil Supplies Corporation burdened with a massive debt of about ₹56,000 crore. When the BRS Government assumed office in 2014, the debt was only ₹3,300 crore. Presently, the annual interest burden of the corporation, responsible for ration distribution and paddy procurement, exceeds ₹3,000 crore. Over the past decade, the corporation incurred losses of ₹11,000 crore due to the gross neglect of the department by the previous government.
The Minister was speaking after inspecting ration shops in Huzurnagar to assess the quality of rice and other services. He expressed grave concern over the diversion and misuse of ration rice and also issued a stern warning of severe consequences against rice millers and others involved in the recycling of PDS (ration) rice.
Mr. Reddy said currently, nearly 54 lakh ration cardholders in Telangana receive 5 kgs of rice from the Central Government and 1 kg from the State Government. Additionally, the State Government provides 6 kg of rice every month for another 35 lakh ration cardholders. Whether from the Central or State Government, the total procurement cost amounts to ₹39 per kg. However, almost 70 to 75% of ration rice is being recycled by millers and other unscrupulous entities. The State Government views this matter very seriously. Anyone found involved in the recycling of rice will face severe consequences.