Purchase rice from local suppliers for govt schemes, appeal traders

As the state government is procuring rice from neighbouring states to cater to the needs of its pro-people schemes like Anna Bhagya, Matrupoorna and midday meals scheme, the business of the rice mills here is affected.

While the Centre, which is a partner for several of the schemes, is dispatching its share of the rice to the state, the balance is being purchased from other states. Under Anna Bhagya scheme, each member of a family possessing a ration card is distributed seven kg rice under the public distribution system. Similarly, rice is being distributed for midday meals and the recently introduced Matrupoorna scheme to Anganwadi centres.

Following the implementation of the schemes, the sales of short grain variety rice Jaya, 1,001, IR-64, and BR, have slumped and thousands of tonnes of rice is left unsold in the mill godowns. Only short grain variety is cultivated here, so the price has also crashed, causing loss to the farmers.

Local growers

Speaking to DH, Basaveshwara Agro Rice Industries owner S C Basvaraj said, the Anna Bhagya scheme, which is introduced for the benefit of poor people, has affected hundreds of mill owners across the state as there is no transaction. The government should purchase rice from local growers, to minimise the loss, he opined.

While the government distributes rice to the poor, the upper middle class people purchase branded rice from malls and super markets, not bothering about the Goods and Services Tax (GST). It is not possible to run the mills depending solely on the lower middle-class people, he said.

Instead of purchasing rice from other states, if the government decides to purchase rice directly from the local suppliers, we will supply good quality product, he assured.

Burden on govt

Rice Mill Owners Association Mysuru district president Y K Kumar said the state government is purchasing rice from other states at Rs 27.29 per kg. In addition, it has to bear the transportation and godown costs. The rice mill owners here are ready to sell their produce at a lesser price in sufficient quantities, he added.

"Moreover, a large quantity of rice gets wasted during transportation in railway wagons. Storing it for a longer duration in the godowns affect the quality. We are ready to supply rice at Rs 25 per kg, which includes transportation and godown cost. The government can save crores of rupees. Besides, it may benefit the mills and the labourers of the state,” he said.

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