Rice millers make hay as govt revises levy price

They are even procuring rice from neighbouring states

Rice millers make hay as govt revises levy price

Thanks to the State government’s overzealousness in ensuring sufficient quantity of rice for its flagship Anna Bhagya scheme of supplying rice at Re one a kg, for which it raised the levy procurement price from Rs 2,160 a quintal to Rs 2,400, the scheme has rice mill owners laughing all the way to the bank. 

Rice mill owners, who protested against the levy policy which had fixed  annual levy target of 5 metric tonnes and forced the government to halve the target, are now eager to meet the earlier target, with many even procuring rice from neighbouring states to do so.

Incidentally, close to 1,000 rice mill owners had gone on strike protesting the annual levy target of 5 lakh MT, claiming they would suffer losses. Several mills were also shut, causing panic among the public.

The striking millers had not only forced the government to bring down the target to 2.5 lakh MT a year, but also hike the levy procurement price.

The government, which was procuring a huge quantum of rice at Rs 21.90 a kg from Chhattisgarh and through online trading (Rs 22 a kg), took to increasing levy procurement price to buy it at Rs 21.60 a kg, least expecting prices to crash during the harvest season, official sources said.

According to State Food and Civil Supplies Department, the happy millers have so far supplied 1.30 lakh MT of rice against the target of 1.5 lakh MT till March 2014. About 1 lakh MT were supplied in just a month’s time after the government hiked the levy procurement price on December 19, 2013. The millers had supplied only 2,646 MT till mid-December.

Official sources said millers in some districts were buying rice from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and supplying to the State government under levy policy. The price of rice varies from Rs 19 a kg to Rs 21 a kg in neighbouring states, they added.

Food and Civil Supplies Commissioner Harsh Gupta said the department has taken note of millers’ unethical practice and a case has been booked in Davanagere in this regard. He added that strict instructions have been issued to keep tabs on such offenders.

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