The state government has proposed storage of raw jute for a maximum of one month by jute mill owners, so as to help farmers secure the minimum selling price as fixed by the Centre.
The state agriculture department has already written to the National Jute Board expressing its view that the jute cultivators would get the minimum selling price if the mill owners are not allowed to keep it in their warehouses for more than a month after purchase.
The proposal has been given keeping in mind that none of the stakeholders, either farmers or mill
owners, incur even minimum losses.
According to the sources in the agriculture department, the mill owners had proposed three months as the maximum time to store the purchased jute in their warehouses.
However, prior experiences have shown that mill owners usually purchase the maximum possible percentage of jute cultivated in a season and keep it in their stock for months.
This would not have been a problem if the farmers could receive the minimum selling price when most of their produce was bought at a time. But it was found that they were given a comparatively lesser price as most of their cultivation was bought.
This time, however, the Centre has fixed the minimum selling price at Rs 3,200 per quintal and a tripartite meeting among mill owners, representatives of jute cultivators and the National Jute Board will be held soon to resolve the issue.
The state government had taken the step of giving the proposal to the Jute Board after a section of farmers from Jalpaiguri and Bangaon alleged that they had been getting Rs 3,000 for each quintal instead of the minimum selling price of Rs 3,200 per quintal.
A meeting had already taken place among the three parties and the issues were discussed in the meeting. During this meeting, it was learnt that jute mill owners had proposed a three month time period for storage jute.
The cultivation of jute in the state has gone up this time. It was around 90 lakh metric tonne last time, while this year it went up to more than 100 lakh.
At the same time, the jute mills in the state have received relatively more work orders to manufacture gunny bags from the Centre, compared to that of the corresponding period of the previous year.