ANDHRA PRADESH

Raichur mills not to release levy rice

Staff Correspondent

RAICHUR: The Raichur District Rice Millers' Association has said that it will not release levy rice to the Government unless the latter revised the levy price, particularly for the Sona Masuri variety of rice.

Talking to presspersons here on Saturday, A. Papa Reddy, Raichur MLA and president of the association, said the Government had not collected levy rice for the past three years. But it decided to collect levy rice from this year. However, it had failed to revise the price for the Sona Masuri variety while collecting levy rice from rice mills. This would affect the interest of rice mills in the district. They will be forced to close down if they agreed to release Sona Masuri variety at the existing price.

He said Sona Masuri variety of paddy is being cultivated on a large scale in the district and farmers have not cultivated other variety of paddy such as Rajahamsa and IR-64 varieties. But the Government has not considered the different qualities while fixing price for levy rice. It had fixed Rs. 933 per quintal of levy rice, which is generally fixed for low quality rice. This price is low when compared to the ruling price for the Sona Masuri variety in the market. But farmers had not cultivated other varieties of rice in the district. The mills may not able to release Sona Masuri rice against the price fixed for levy rice. The Government should give some concession while collecting Sona Masuri as levy rice.

He said the Government has set a target of collection three lakh tonnes of levy rice from rice mills in the State. It has asked the district administrations to collect about 33.33 per cent levy rice from each mill. But the mills in the district have to release Sona Masuri variety towards levy as no other variety of rice has been cultivated. The interest of rice mills in the district will be affected if a fresh price is not fixed for Sona Masuri, he said.

He demanded that the Government should have fixed a minimum price of Rs. 1,200 per quintal for Sona Masuri. It has said that levy rice will be collected between November 1 and December 31. But paddy arrivals will begin only in the first week of December. The Government should extend the period of levy collection till the end of January, he said.

Mr. Reddy said a delegation of the association will meet the Chief Minister N. Dharam Singh, and Mahadev Prasad, Minister for Food and Civil Supply, on Tuesday. It will submit a memorandum highlighting the problems faced by the mills while releasing levy rice.