By Praveen Arora
With the last date of the third deadline approaching, over 40 rice millers in the district are yet to deliver around 30,000 MT of custom-milled rice (CMR) to the Food Corporation of India (FCI). It is not the first time when the millers have delayed the delivery, but every year, several millers delay it, claimed an official of the Food Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department.
Inordinate delay points to suspicion over the actual procurement of paddy in the grain markets during the season. During the 2022 procurement, it was found that fake gate passes were issued to traders, indicating bogus procurement was done to adjust already procured paddy or PDS rice from other states into the PR-114 variety, commonly known as PR-14, and the PR-126 variety, which are being procured by the government, said an official.
Instead of truck numbers, bike, car, and scooter numbers were used in the issuance of several outgoing gate passes last year. Moreover, 49 gate passes were generated in just 44 minutes at the Gharaunda grain market this season to only two firms, claimed an official.
As per data, all three procurement agencies — Food Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department, Hafed and Warehouse — have allotted around 9 lakh MT paddy to various millers based on their capacity of processing, which is between 2MT to 10 MT per day. Millers were allotted paddy between 1,000 MT and 8,000 MT by the agencies. They had to deliver nearly 6 lakh MT, which is 67 per cent of the total allotted paddy.
The millers had to deliver 15 per cent rice of the allotted paddy by November-end, 35 per cent rice of the total paddy by December-end, 55 per cent by the end of January, 75 per cent by February-end, and the remaining by May 31, said the official.
On the demand of the millers, the first deadline was extended to June 30, further to July 31 and now the fresh deadline is August 31.
“Rainfall during procurement has resulted in high moisture content in procured paddy and it took two months to dry it. We could not get delivery of fortified rice kernels on time, due to which we could not deliver the CMR on time,” said Vinod Goel, senior vice-president, Haryana Rice Millers and Dealers Association.
“We have issued notices to millers who have yet to deliver rice and directed them to deliver it on time,” said Anil Kumar Kalra, DFSC.
This article has been republished from The Tribune