Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) chief Revanth Reddy accused the Collector of speaking like a ‘dictator.’

Siddipet collector P Venkatarama Reddy in a green shirt infront of a mikeFilePhoto_PTI
news Farming Wednesday, October 27, 2021 - 10:25

Siddipet District Collector P Venkatrama Reddy has triggered a row after he threatened to defy Supreme Court and High Court orders with regard to the sale of paddy seeds for the upcoming rabi season from November. A video of his remarks made during a meeting held with seed dealers in Siddipet in Telangana have now gone viral. 

In the video, the Collector says, "There are about 350 dealer shops in this jurisdiction. Even if one kilo of paddy sale is noted in any of the dealer shops, the shop would be closed or seized. Even if you get orders from the Supreme Court or High Court or get calls from public representatives for shops to reopen, it won't work. The shop will remain closed until I am a Collector here. And the concerned agriculture officer or other officers in that area will also be suspended."

The Collector was speaking in context of a move by the Telangana government, which has urged farmers to shift to alternate crops besides paddy, as per orders of Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao. The state government has urged farmers to instead sow crops like, groundnut, sesame, caster, bajra, bengal gram and others instead of paddy, as the Food Corporation of India has decided not to procure paddy. In this regard, all the District Collectors have held meetings with officials and seed dealers to discuss alternate crops. The move is part of a wider goal by the Telangana government to implement a crop regulation system, which would dictate what crops should be grown in the state, in a bid to make agriculture sustainable.

Read: Decoding Telangana's crop regulation system: Ambitious goal but farmers skeptical

As the video of the Collector’s statement went viral, several Congress leaders in Telangana condemned it and demanded action against him. They said that if he failed to tender an apology, they would lay siege to his office. Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) chief Revanth Reddy accused the Collector of speaking like a ‘dictator.’

Just earlier this year, the Collector was convicted in a contempt case for willful disobedience of court orders on land acquisition pertaining to the Mallanna Sagar project. The High Court had sentenced Siddipet District Collector Venkatrami Reddy and Special Deputy Collector (Land Acquisition) Jayachandra Reddy to three months and four months simple imprisonment respectively. However, it later set aside the jail term and asked the officials to deposit the fine amounts and costs imposed on them by the court.