Telangana asks Centre to clear Rs 1,640cr levy rice dues soon

The Telangana government today demanded the Centre to clear at the earliest about Rs 1,640 crore dues for supplying levy rice to the central pool for PDS purpose in the first year of the state bifurcation in 2014-15.

This was among the key issues which Telangana Finance and Civil Supplies Minister Eatala Rajender raised in a meeting with Union Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan here today.

Food Secretary Vrinda Swarup and senior officials of state-run Food Corporation of India (FCI) were also present.

“We had supplied levy rice to the central pool and dues of which are pending. We demanded the government to clear Rs 1,640 crore arrears at the earliest,” Rajender told reporters after the meeting.

Since 2014-15 marketing season (October-September), the centre has capped the levy rice — the portion of rice states buy from mills for public distribution system (PDS)– at 25 per cent. But millers in Telangana had procured more in the 2014-15 season and dues of which are still pending.

After the meeting, Paswan said, “Telangana had 2-3 issues. One was levy rice dues of 2014-15. After the division of Andhra and Telangana, millers have procured paddy from both sides and there were some issues. We have discussed in details and we will see what we can do as per the rule book.”

The Telangana government also demanded a hike in milling charges for raw rice from Rs 15 to Rs 30 per quintal and for boiled rice from Rs 25 to Rs 50 per quintal from this year.

On the demand, Paswan said, “The rates are fixed by Tariff Commission, which in fact has been proposing to reduce it further from the current level. If there is a case, we will write to them.”

The Union Minister further said that Telangana has demanded 2,000 tonnes more rice allocation to hostels and “we have asked the state to submit the list of inmates in hostels and utilisation certification of last year before releasing the extra grains.”

At present, the Centre allocates 6,434 tonnes of rice per month to over 6 lakh hostels in the state.