They demand 100 per cent levy targets
The rice millers called for drastic changes in the government's paddy procurement policy enabling them to meet 100 per cent levy targets instead of 75 per cent as was the case at present.
The West Godavari District Rice Millers Association made a demand to this effect during an interaction with Sanjay Jaju, Commissioner of Civil Supplies here on Wednesday night. Before he left for East Godavari, Mr. Jaju held a joint meeting with the millers and the officials from the Civil Supplies department in a bid to take stock of the process of paddy procurement in the district in the current kharif season.
As per the present levy policy, the millers are in a bind over supplying 75 per cent of rice after conversion from paddy to the central pool as levy for distribution through the Public Distribution System (PDS) and selling the rest in the open market. Even in the remaining 25 per cent of the quantity, the millers are allowed to sell two thirds within the State and the rest outside the State.
The association president and former MLA Cherukuvada Sriranganadha Raju said the millers were finding it difficult to find buyers for the quantities the millers were allowed to sell in the open market.
Recycling of the subsidy rice from the PDS to the black market and vice versa led to little or no demand for the rice they milled in the market, he explained.
A kg of rice disposed at Rs. 2 from the PDS was getting back to the same system with a price tag of Rs.12 per kg. If that was the situation who would buy rice from millers, he questioned.
Interestingly, all the paddy varieties, barring the Swarna (7029), were least preferred for consumption in the local market. Such varieties are converted into boiled rice for exports.
The Swarna variety, which was prone to discolouring and sprouting, too got little demand in the market this time, thanks to heavy rains. According to rough estimates, more than 75 per cent of the Swarna variety raised in 4 lakh acres in the delta in the current season in the district was subjected to discolouring and sprouting raising market problems for millers and the growers.