Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) President & MP fired on BJP Government for not fulfilling the assurance of setting up a separate turmeric board in Nizamabad district of Telangana.
Raising the issue in Lok Sabha during Question Hour on Tuesday, Uttam Kumar Reddy expressed dissatisfaction over the reply given by the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare to his specific question on whether there was a proposal with the Central Government to set up a Turmeric Board. He said instead of answering the specific question, the government was talking about the Spice Board looking after turmeric also.
Uttam Kumar Reddy said farmers have been agitating for many years for a separate Turmeric Board. He said Union Minister Rajnath Singh and Prakash Javedkar and BJP leader Ram Madhav gave the specific assurance while campaigning for BJP candidates in the last Lok Sabha elections that a Turmeric Board would be set up. He said nearly 80% of the world’s turmeric gets produced in India and half of it is grown in one district of Telangana in Nizamabad alone. He said despite the assurance, the Turmeric Board has not been set up.
“What is the problem in setting up a Turmeric Board? There is no great financial cost. The land has already been allotted by the previous government,” he said adding that the turmeric farmers were neither getting Minimum Support Price nor any market intervention. He said turmeric was a high-cost export crop wherein farmers invest about Rs. 1.5 lakh per acre. “Why is the government not coming up with a Turmeric Board like Coconut or Tobacco Boards where you can give better varieties and facilitate exports?” he asked.
Responding to the points raised by Uttam Kumar Reddy, Union Minister of State for Agriculture Parshottam Rupala stated that the Spices Board was already handling nearly 50 spices including turmeric. He informed that an extension office of Spice Board has been set up in Nizamabad to deal specifically with turmeric and it became functional on February 20, 2021. With regard to the Market Intervention Scheme, he said that the Central Government would approve the scheme if the State Government sends a proposal. Since the Telangana Government did not send any proposal seeking MIS for turmeric, the Centre did nothing.
Not satisfied with the Minister’s reply, Uttam Kumar Reddy asked the Central Government to specify as to why it was not willing to set up a separate Turmeric Board. He said he had visited the regional office of Spice Board in Nizamabad and it was only providing export licenses. He said a dedicated Turmeric Board could deal with all problems being faced by the farmers, help in growing better varieties and give export incentives.
However, the Minister listed out other steps being taken to help the turmeric farmers. But he made it clear there was no need, as of now, to set up a Turmeric Board.
While Uttam Kumar Reddy and other Congress members started agitating over the issues, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla permitted another supplementary question from Chikkaballapur MP B.N. Bache Gowda of BJP demanded the setting up of a national turmeric board. But the Agriculture Minister maintained that there was no need for a separate turmeric board. He said the new extension office of Spice Board has started e-Mandis and connected nearly 5,000 turmeric farmers of Khammam and Warangal.