KARIMNAGAR: The future of parboiled rice mills hangs in the balance, with the Centre making it clear that it would not procure Rabi paddy from Telangana anymore as parboiled rice has no takers anywhere.
Even Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao recently advised farmers not to raise paddy in the ensuing Rabi, as the Centre had said it had enough stocks of parboiled rice. There are more than 1,000 parboiled rice mills in the State, most of them concentrated in Karimnagar and Nalgonda districts.
The Centre’s decision is casting a long shadow on the livelihoods of thousands of workers dependent on the mills. These mills operate for six months in a year during the Rabi season in Telangana, as the paddy procured in this climate is fit for conversion into parboiled rice. “If we have to close down our mills, then we would incur heavy losses and the machinery may rust,” says joint secretary of State Rice Millers Association Boinapalli Narsing Rao.
Karimnagar district rice millers association vice-president Girdarlal Dodia said it would be difficult for the millers to pay their EMIs as many of the mills have been bankrolled. “Over time, we had spent a lot after borrowing money to effect modification and additional installation of machinery. Each unit has cost us `6 crore and they are under hypothecation to the banks,” Dodia said.
If the millers go for raw rice instead of boiled paddy, about 50 per cent of rice may turn into broken rice.
The millers rue that it was the government that encouraged the setting up of parboiled rice mills after paddy production rose exponentially in the State.