“Open market price of rice was stable in 2012 because of merchants' cooperation”

Food Minister R. Kamaraj on Wednesday said rice mill owners and paddy merchants had a crucial role to play in holding the price line of the essential commodity in the State.

The Minister, who opened a new office for the Federation of Tamilnadu Rice Mill Owners and Paddy-Rice Dealers’ Association at Wallajah Road, pointed out that open market price of rice in the State was kept at stable levels during the drought year of 2012 largely because the Federation worked closely with the Government.

It was praiseworthy that the Federation, which is an apex body of district-level and taluk level associations, had gone to the extent of issuing a price list of varieties of rice as a public notice in the media, the Minister said.

Holding the food and civil supplies sector as a priority area for the Government, Mr. Kamaraj pointed out that Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had initiated several interventions, such as an allocation of about Rs. 4,900 crore as food subsidy for providing essentials through the public distribution system. An estimated 3.17 lakh metric tonnes of rice were needed for public distribution, he added.

M.P. Nirmala, Food Secretary, said the Federation should take steps to ensure the availability of quality foodgrains to consumers in the State.

A. C. Mohan, Federation secretary, said the organisation had, since inception in 1971, built up a tradition of working in unison with the Government in supplying quality rice in the State. During the deficit monsoon and rice scarcity experienced last year, the Federation had ventured beyond traditional markets of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka to places such as Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Maharashtra to ensure both continuous availability and price stability of rice in the State, he said.

The Federation has affiliates in 17 districts and 67 taluks and the new office which is a memorial for its founder K. Arumugaswamy had been a long-cherished dream, he said.

Federation president D. Thulasingam and K. S. Jagadeeshan past president also spoke.

More In: Tamil Nadu | National