KOCHI: Kerala State Cooperative Consumers Federation (Consumerfed) managing director Tomin J Thachankary on Saturday held discussions with representatives of rice mill owners from Andhra Pradesh, who threatened to stop supply if the Federation failed to clear the long-pending dues.
After the meeting, Thachankary expressed hope that the traders would not take the drastic step.
“The traders met me and aired their grievances. They said they would withdraw from the tender proceedings and would even stop traders from the other states from supplying stock to the Consumerfed and the Supplyco,” said Thachankary.
Terming the discussion as ‘positive’, the Consumerfed MD told ‘Express’ that the Federation owed Rs 82 crore to traders in Andhra Pradesh.“I convinced them that the dues would be cleared soon. I hope that the suppliers would participate in the tender to be opened on Monday,” he said.
Consumerfed president Joy Thomas told ‘Express’ that the ball was in the court of the government. The total outstanding dues the Federation owes its suppliers, including those from Andhra Pradesh, is Rs 320 crore. At the same time, the amount the government owes the Consumerfed is Rs 409 crore. If the government releases Rs 100 crore immediately, it would solve the problem for the time being and ensure uninterrupted supply,” he said.
The government had mooted a plan to stay guarantor for the Consumerfed to avail Rs 150-crore loan from various district cooperatives banks to clear suppliers’ dues.
Though orders in this regard were issued, the plan did not work out.
“Supply of rice and the other essential commodities will be ensured during the Onam season. But, everything depends on the (cooperative) banks’ willingness to grant loan,” he added.