State provides 7 cr jute bags to rice mills for packing
Kolkata: The state Food & Supplies department will provide 7 crore jute bags to the rice mills across the state for packing rice and then give them back to the state government. The jute bags that will be procured from the Jute Corporation of India will be handed over by the middle of November.
"We will not accept rice packed in any other bags except the jute bags that will be handed over to them. We are looking at a long-term solution for the ailing jute industry and to begin we are commencing this process," state Food & Supplies minister Jyotipriya Mallick said on the sidelines of symposium organised by the state Cooperation department to ensure smooth purchasing of paddy by the cooperative societies in the state directly from the farmers. The Mamata Banerjee government has formed a Group of Ministers (GOM) to work on a strategy for the revival of the sector that offers livelihood to lakhs of people.
According to sources, the state has plans to procure 1.2 lakh bales of gunny bags in the current kharif season at a cost of Rs 300-325 crore, which would then be reimbursed by the Centre. There has been an alarming surplus situation of the TD6 (lower) variety of jute and farmers sold raw jute for around Rs 700 less than the minimum support price. Additional Chief Secretary of Agriculture department, Sanjeev Chopra chaired a recent meeting at the state secretariat Nabanna on the issue. The Jute Corporation of India (JCI) informed the officials that they were facing shortage of funds for raw material procurement.
JCI operates 27 direct purchase centres out of 171 in West Bengal. It had purchased just 65,000 bales under MSP out of the total state production of 65 lakh bales this kharif season.