In view of the closure of rice mills in protest against the State government’s decision to procure levy rice, the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) has urged the government to hold discussions with mill owners to sort out the differences.
The State Cabinet has decided to procure 5 lakh tonnes of levy rice before March 31 next to meet the requirements of the Anna Bhagya scheme.
Apart from seeking abolition of the levy system, the KRRS has appealed to the government to purchase rice in the open market for the Anna Bhagya scheme.
Sangha president Kodihalli Chandrashekar told presspersons here on Monday that although the support price announced by the government for paddy was Rs. 1,600 a quintal, the market price ranges between Rs. 1,200 and Rs. 1,300 a quintal.
“Paddy price would fall further in view of the strike. Hence, the government should convene a meeting of rice mill owners immediately and sort out the issue,” he said.
Mr. Chandrashekar also said that the government could procure rice for the scheme within the State. “Over 35 per cent of the rice produced in Karnataka is going to neighbouring States. The government should ensure that it is utilised within the State by purchasing it for the scheme,” he said. He also pointed out that the government had earlier purchased rice from Chhattisgarh at Rs. 28 a kg.