Flour mill operators seek uniform policy on open wheat sale

Flour mill operators in north India on Monday asked the government to make a uniform policy for the entire country to offload surplus wheat through open market sale scheme for bulk consumers.

Government godowns are overflowing with over 80 million tonnes of rice and wheat, while the storage capacity is 63 million tonnes. To clear excess stock, the food ministry has proposed a policy, which is yet to be cleared by an empowered group of
ministers.

“The ministry has proposed a policy to release three million tonnes of wheat under the open market sale scheme at a uniform rate of Rs 1,170 per quintal. This will affect flour mill operators in north India,” said Raj Kumar Garg, chairperson of the Confederation of Roller Flour Millers (north zone).

He suggested that “instead of giving a single rate applicable across India, wheat prices should be reduced for north zone to the extent of freight subsidy given to other zones”. “This will ensure a level-playing field,” he added.

“The price of wheat under this scheme should be lower for producing states than consuming ones,” he said. Garg said the ministry’s proposal to bear the entire freight cost under the scheme to southern states and not to northern states is “clear discrimination”.

“The scheme will lead to a freight subsidy of Rs 2,400 crore. This will not help in lifting wheat stock significantly under the scheme,” Punjab Roller Flour Millers president Naresh Ghai said.

Chandigarh Flour Millers Association president Vinod Mittal also said “there is no justification on the part of the government to propose a policy to sell wheat below the minimum support price of Rs 1,285 per quintal”.

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