Special Correspondent

Says this will ensure supply of quality rice for PDS

CHENNAI: Food Minister E.V.Velu wants hulling agents of the Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation (TNCSC) to modernise their mills for supplying quality rice to the public distribution system.

Addressing them here on Wednesday, he said at present 75 per cent of the rice being distributed through the PDS outlets was from Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Punjab with the balance met from the local supply. The quality of local rice was not up to the standard of upcountry rice.

He admitted that there were practical difficulties in supplying quality rice, as a majority of the mills had outdated machineries.

They should upgrade their technology to improve the quality. As an interim measure, he suggested that they change the water frequently for washing the paddy and use a drier before hulling the paddy and a colour separator to remove immature grains.

On their demand for increasing the hulling charge, the Minister said it was fixed by the Centre and he would bring it to the notice of Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar during his next meeting.

Denying that there was witch hunt of hulling agents by the corporation, he said action was being taken only against mills indulging in malpractices.

Civil Supplies Commissioner K. Rajaraman said malpractices by a few mills would bring bad name to all. The millers’ federation should issue a code of conduct to its members.