Oil Palm India Ltd. (OPIL) the profit making joint sector venture between the Central and State governments, enter rice production sector in the State turning a new leaf in its diversification initiative.
Taking over the partly constructed modern rice mill at Vechoor, which had been in the making for more than decade now, OPIL hopes to procure and process 12000 mt of paddy during the first phase of its project.
Speaking on the occasion of the re-launching of the work on the construction of the modern rice mill, State Finance Minister said, the singular achievement of the of the LDF government during the past four years was that it could reverse the negative trend in paddy sector in the State not only in the area under cultivation, but also in quantity produced.
With the reversal in the negative trend, the government was opinion that we needed more modern rice mills in the public sector. As such the government was engaged in effort to revive the rice mills at Thakazhi and Athani and Alathur too, he said. The State needs mills in the public sector as the current system where the State was totally dependent on private millers for the rice to be distributed through the Public distribution system was not without flaws, he pointed out.
Dr. Isaac said the government had spent Rs.287 for market intervention initiatives to hold the price line this year so far, but may need Rs.500 core for such operations in the coming financial year.
In his presidential address, Mullakkara Ratnakaran, Minister for Agriculture said efforts should be taken to complete the works on the mill within one year so that he farming community could take advantage of the institution at the earliest. The decision to revive the mill in spite of the stiff opposition from private players was clear evidence for the government’s commitment to the cause of the farmers, farm labourers and poorer segments of the society, he said.
Speaking on the occasion V.B. Binu, Chairman, OPIL, said the project hopes to make use of the paddy production in the 9000 ha of padasekharams spread over 11 grama panchayts in the area. The total production of paddy from the area has been put at 33,000 mt and the project has been designed to make use entire paddy production from this area. The first phase of the modern rice mill will cost Rs.5.50 crore, he said.
Mons Joseph MLA, K. Ajith MLA, T.N. Rameshan, District Panchayat President, Mini Antony, District Collector, and others spoke on the occasion.