By Parveen Arora
Around a week after the completion of the procurement of paddy by the government and allotment of paddy to millers, the rice millers are still waiting for the arrival of fortified rice kernels (FRKs). As per sources, the government is yet to finalise the agency for the supply of FRKs, enriched with micronutrients like iron, folic acid, and vitamins, to address the challenge of malnutrition. A rice miller has to deliver custom-milled rice (CMR) after mixing 1 kg of FRKs in 100 kg of rice, said an official.
Various agencies have procured 55.95 MT of paddy and allotted it to rice millers for custom milling. In Kurukshetra, these agencies have procured 10.08 MT of paddy, 9.57 MT in Karnal district, 8.94 MT in Kaithal district, 8.52 MT in Fatehabad, 6.51 MT in Yamunanagar, 5.78 MT in Ambala district, 2.12 MT in Sirsa, 2.06 MT in Jind, 86.3 MT in Hisar, 77.68 MT in Sonepat, 27.17 MT in Panipat, 25.42 MT in Rohtak, 7.17 MT in Faridabad, 1.01 MT in Jhajjar, according to data.
As per CMR norms, a miller has to deliver 67 kg of rice against 100 kg paddy allotted to him. Of the total CMR, a miller has to deliver 25 per cent of rice by December 31, 20 per cent by January 31, another 20 per cent by February- end, 20 per cent again by March 31, and 15 per cent by April-end.
The millers have said due to the non-supply of FRKs, they would not be able to deliver the CMR to the government on time. “We are yet to get FRKs, even as November is nearly over. The authorities should provide us with FRKs at the earliest,” said a miller.
Another miller, who did not want to be quoted, said the government was taking action against the millers for notn delivering the CMR, but there were certain reasons, including delay in the supply of FRKs, high-moisture content in grains, and a shortage of labour, for the failure of delivery of the CMR. The government should ensure the availability of FRKs during the allotment of paddy to millers.
The authorities have claimed that the tender had been floated and the agency would be finalised soon. “The government has issued a standard operating procedure for the implementation of rice fortification. The agencies should fulfil these requirements. We have floated tenders, and hopefully, the agency will be finalised soon,” said Mukul Kumar, Director, Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department.
This article has been republished from The Tribune.