Even as the paddy sowing season began Monday in Punjab,more than 13 lakh tonnes of rice,all from the last season,is still lying with millers waiting for storage space at FCI godowns.
Apart from fears of it getting rotten,the milled rice has created a bigger problem for the roce millers. They have been forced to run their mills below capacity owing to lack of storage space on factory premises.
The rice millers are blaming the FCI for this crisis.
This storage problem has been cropping up every year for the last four years. We are not being able to mill the paddy as FCI has failed to provide storage space well in time. This problem has persisted over the years. Even now,the milled rice has remained stored at our mills instead of the FCI storage houses and we have been forced to run our mills below capacity, Tarsem Singh Saini,president,All India Rice Millers Association,said.
Saini raised the issue in the three-day rice expo,which concluded Sunday at Sahnewal. We want the FCI to sort out the storage issue as we embark on new paddy season. Saini said.
He,however,said that the millers generated business inquiries worth crores in the rice expo. The expo got good response and we are working on the technologies of quality control and cost cutting.
While he only talked in passing reference about crop diversification call of government,saying millers need to think about their future,Saini claimed the association members placed many orders for machines at the expo. We will ask government to support our industry when they moot the diversification plan. It is their duty to support the industry as well as those who are dependent on paddy, Saini said,while asking the Punjab rice millers to adopt the latest technology to improve their rice quantity and quality.
He added,More than 10 per cent of paddy in our country is lost during processing,mainly due to old practices adopted by rice millers.