ANDHRA PRADESH

Rice millers told to speed up procurement

GUNTUR, FEB. 26. The Commissioner, Civil Supplies, Bhanwarlal, has asked rice millers in Guntur district to speed up the procurement process so that shortage of rice stock for supply through the Public Distribution System (PDS) and for the mid-day meal scheme does not arise.

At a meeting with the Rice Millers' Association at the Collectorate on Thursday, he reminded them that there was an agreement with the State Government that they would procure 5,000 tonnes per day to meet the target of 47,000 tonnes of discoloured paddy.

The State and Central Governments had extended subsidies to the millers for procurement and they should stick to their commitment so that small farmers were not affected.

He said that the Food Corporation of India (FCI) was procuring 75 per cent of their stocks and they had to sell only 25 per cent in the open market. At the State-level the procurement target was fixed at 42-lakh tonnes and that it would be met soon, he added. The association president, Krishnaiah, said in Guntur district farmers bring black gram now and after that bring their second paddy crop, which was delaying the procurement process.

He wanted blacklisting of 11 of their association members, which had caused them embarrassment, withdrawn. The Commissioner, asked the millers to first fulfil their responsibilities and the Joint Collector would reverse the order.