Punjab rice millers seek lifting of quality cut on rice

Kapurthala, Jan 13 (PTI) Punjab rice millers have soughtwithdrawal of quality cut conditions imposed by FoodCorporation of India (FCI) on rice, saying that their ongoingstrike would hit the rice procurement in the state.

Over 3,000 rice millers had gone on indefinite strike onJanuary 7 in protest against the quality cut of Rs 15 aquintal imposed by FCI on damage and discoloration of rice.

The millers demanded that condition of quality cut shouldbe waived as the paddy had got damaged during the rain lastyear.

Punjab Rice Millers Association President Tarsem Sainitoday said that rice millers in Punjab were on indefinitestrike in protest against the alleged wrong policies of FCIregarding the customised milling of paddy.

Saini said it was for the first time that the qualitycut had been imposed on the millers for milling the governmentpaddy .

He said the millers have brought it to the notice ofPunjab Food and Civil Supplies Minister Adesh Partap Singh whowould meet Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar to apprisehim of the problems of rice millers.

Saini claimed that rice millers had only milled 6 to 7lakh tonne of paddy out of the total purchase of 125 lakhtonnes of paddy during last Kharif season.

He said that more than three months had passed after theprocurement season and only three month were left for themilling of government paddy till March this year.

"After March there would be a sudden change in thetemperature which can damage the entire stock of paddy lyingin the state," he said.

He alleged that centre was not serious about the paddyproduction of Punjab as other states have now startedproducing paddy and there was a less demand of rice of Punjab.

He said millers would suffer heavy losses in case theymill paddy on these specifications.

He said FCI had given relaxation of 4 per cent in damage,4 per cent discoloration and 28 per cent broken rice last yearfor milling the paddy without any quality cut.

FCI Senior Regional Manager NilKanth S Avadh when todaycontacted expressed his ignorance over the indefinite strikeby the rice millers in the state.

He said FCI had already accepted the demands of themillers by raising the damage percentage from 3 to 4 per centon Januaty 7.

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