‘Space’ worry for rice millers

Supply of milled rice delayed due to lack of space at rice receiving centres

Published: 03rd July 2017 02:23 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd July 2017 10:10 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

JEYPORE: Over two lakh quintals of rice, meant for Public Distribution System, have been dumped at milling units in Koraput district in the absence of space at rice receiving centres to store the stock. Only 60 per cent  of custom-milled rice of last kharif season has been supplied to the Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare department so far.

The Civil Supply wing of Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare department had procured 16 lakh quintals of paddy from farmers of the district in last kharif season through Primary Agricultural Cooperative Societies (PACs) and supplied it to 100 millers for custom milling. Around 11 lakh quintals of milled rice have to be delivered to the department by September this year but so far, only six lakh quintals have been delivered and another two lakh quintals are lying at milling units to be supplied to the department.
Sources said delivery of milled rice has been delayed due to lack of storage space at the rice receiving centres from where, the stocks would be sent to the department for distribution under PDS.

Koraput district has only three rice receiving centres in Koraput and Jeypore sub-divisions, which have the capacity to store only 1.76 lakh quintals rice each. Currently, the centres do not have any space to stock more rice as a result of which, collection of milled rice has been stopped. Custom millers, who have already completed milling, are running from pillar to post to submit their rice quota. Apparently, if the millers do not submit their rice quota on time, they would be debarred from participating in the milling process in the next season.

In the past, the district civic supply officials had requested the Civil Supply Department to create more space at the existing rice receiving centres, but that has not happened so far. There was also a proposal to open rice receiving centres of five lakh quintal capacity in every block of the district, but that too has been put in  cold storage. Millers fear that the milled rice would be damaged if the stock continues to be dumped in milling units for long.

On Thursday, members of Koraput Millers’ Association urged the District Civil Supply Officer to sort out the space problem and extend the time limit for delivery of rice under custom milling system from September to December.District Civil Supply Officer Balava Chandra Dash said he has informed the higher officials of the department about space constraint at rice receiving centres and slow pace of rice delivery. The officer said he has suggested that milled rice be stored at godowns in neighbouring districts of Malkangiri and Nabarangpur.Meanwhile, procurement of rabi paddy has already started and so far, five lakh quintals have been purchased from farmers.

16 lakh quintals of paddy procured
PADDY procurement in Kalahandi district was completed on Thursday with 16,58,000 quintals of paddy being procured from farmers. Rabi paddy was procured from 18,260 farmers through 70 paddy purchasing centres  of 43 agriculture cooperative societies. As many as 60 custom millers were engaged to lift paddy from the purchasing centres. This year, procurement started late due to delay in harvesting. As water for irrigation from Indravati project was released late, it delayed harvesting. Although it was targeted to start procurement from May 10, the process started on May 25. Agitation by custom millers further added to the problem. Collector Anjan Kumar Manik said there needs to be better coordination between officials of agriculture and irrigation to ensure early release of water from Indravati.

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