Jute industry seeks permission to use old jute bags, ignites fresh debate on illegal recycling
At a time when both Centre and State has upped its ante against illegal recycling of jute bags, the jute industry has surprisingly sought permission for use of old jute bags in government supply, that isn’t permitted under law.
Allowing the use of old bags will open future gateways for illegal recycle of jute bags meant for government supply. At present the Centre and state governments are vehemently opposing such moves. These bags were manufactured for supply in crop year 2016-17, but are being sought for use in crop year 2017-18.
Under mandatory jute packaging (JPMA) law, use of old jute bags is illegal and cannot be used in government supply. It is because only bags manufactured during the year and for the particular agriculture season can only be accepted for supply being tenable under the given laws. However, the acceptance may depend on the consignee, in this case the Punjab food department.
Jute miller association IJMA has approached the Punjab Food and Civil Supply department for use of these old bags referring to a discussion earlier held on 3 Nov 2016 by its former Chairman Manish Poddar. Poddar claimed that as the government did not issue orders for November supply, jute mills on their own had started manufacturing these bags before hand for Rabi supply to Punjab in 2017-18. IJMA had sought amending the old Swach Bharat and ISI logos on the bags to make it look new.
Alongside, unable to place trust on the industry Jute Commissioner Subrata Gupta has also suggested on lowering the use of jute bags for packing food grain and sugar by 10 and 80 percent dealing a body blow for the third time.
To pre-empt default by jute mills he recently put up a note before the Textile Ministry that said, `` in case jute mills would not be able to provide jute bags as per requisition then a dilution up to 10% would be permissible by department of food and public distribution’’. Gupta is yet to place indents for supply. Each year the government purchases around 8 lakh tons of jute bags valued at around Rs 8000 crore through different state food procuring agencies and Food Corporation of India (FCI). This is almost 45% of the industry production of jute bags.