Millennium Post

Job crisis in jute mills may further aggravate

As the crisis resulting from sharp rise in raw jute prices continues, threat to job for the jute mill workers looms large as the state government has limited options to keep the mills running.

Mills have been contesting price cap for sacking and urging the government to remove it as supply would not be possible with high raw material prices.

Twelve jute mills have already closed down and 70,000 workers have lost their jobs, jute industry sources said.

The state government has very limited options in managing the situation, they added.

"The government has fixed the B Twill sacking or jute bags from March and following months at prices based on raw jute price assumption of Rs 5,090 per quintal when the ruling market price of Rs 5,900 per quintal. This has put most of the mills in a fix," the sources said.

The Indian Jute Mills Association has also dragged government agencies to court over price fixation.

At present, there are 56 operating jute mills in the state employing around 2.5 lakh industry workers and 40 lakh jute cultivating families.

"Despite prior alert, the Jute Commissioner's office took action 8 months after the crisis through de-hoarding and fixing stock limits and prices of raw jute. 

“It had a zero effect on the industry. Lastly, it has taken price fixation route," the sources said.

The jute industry has encountered an unprecedented situation in 2015-16 season whereby production and availability of raw jute so far has proved all earlier estimates virtually wrong.
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