Chennai

Millers worried about fall in paddy arrivals

Blame collection of marketing fee by Agriculture Department officials

Rice millers are worried about a drop in paddy arrivals from other States and the resultant increase in prices of paddy this season. A 75-kg bag of paddy that sold at ₹1,200, is now priced at ₹1,400, which also finds reflection in rice prices.

The reason that the Federation of Tamil Nadu Rice Millers and Paddy, Rice Dealers’ Association attributes for this fall in arrivals is the collection of marketing fee under the Agricultural Marketing Act at places other than marketing committee yards.

A.C. Mohan, the federation secretary, said Agriculture Department officials were stopping vehicles from other States and collecting the fee on the roads. “They are also visiting mills where farmers are directly selling paddy. The fee is not just for paddy but for all foodgrains and agricultural products, including cotton,” he explained.

Under the Act, it is mandated that marketing yards with facilities including storage spaces, weighbridges and parking space be provided for farmers. “At these points, the produce is weighed and according to the its quality, a fair price is fixed. The government collects 1% of the total sale value,” he explained.

However, a G.O. issued in February gives powers to the Department to collect the fee wherever it wants. D. Thulasingam, the federation president, said this was unfair.

“The government does not provide any service like weighing or grading, then why should it collect a fee from a truck carrying paddy say from West Bengal or Andhra Pradesh? They just stop vehicles and collect the fee. These points become checkposts, though under the GST, checkposts and unnecessary taxes and fees were done away with,” he said.

Official sources in the Agriculture Department said this involved legal issues. “We will still look into the demand of the millers,” said the official.

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2020 12:34:27 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/millers-worried-about-fall-in-paddy-arrivals/article27142562.ece

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