Punjab seeks extension for rice delivery till Sept 30
Chandigarh: As Punjab rice millers failed in delivering rice worth about Rs 700 crore to the central pool for 2012-13 paddy season, the state government has sought extension in rice delivery time till September 30.
"Punjab government has sought another extension in delivering rice valuing about Rs 700 crore to the central pool till September 30 as millers have not delivered balance rice to central pool," a senior official of Food Corporation of India told reporters.
Punjab rice millers were supposed to deliver 85.69 lakh tonnes (LT) custom milled rice by June 30 to the central pool for 2012-13 paddy season. Then the period was extended till July 31.
However, still as many as 1,000 Punjab rice millers could not deliver 3.98 LT of rice to the central pool for the period 2012-13.
As per practice, state owned agencies purchase paddy from farmers on behalf of Centre and then give it to rice millers for its milling and then rice converted out of paddy is to be delivered to FCI.
Rice millers attributed the non-delivery of balance rice to the shortage of labour due to paddy sowing and space crunch for storing the crop.
"How can we deliver rice on time when there is perennial space crunch for storing crop," asked Tarsem Saini of Punjab Rice Millers Association.
Despite repeated requests, FCI had failed in creating additional space for storing paddy, he added.
Moreover, the quality of paddy had also got deteriorated which made difficult for millers to convert it to rice, millers pointed out.
The state government had earlier asked defaulting rice millers to deliver rice within stipulated time period and if they failed to deliver their quota of rice to the central kitty, then state government would be charging whopping Rs 2,600 per quintal from defaulting rice miller.
It had also warned that defaulting rice millers would not get paddy for coming season if they failed in delivering rice for the 2012-13 period.
However, no action had been taken so far against defaulters, official sources said here.
FCI official pointed out, "if time period for rice delivery is not extended, then Centre can ask state government to recover the cost of paddy from defaulting rice millers."
Punjab is a major contributor of foodgrain to the central pool as it has about 30 per cent share in country`s total rice procurement.
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