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Millers refuse to purchase basmati after ban on paddy from other states

October 29, 2020 05:59 AM


Millers refuse to purchase basmati after ban on paddy from other states
Vishal Joshi

BATHINDA : Rice millers in Fazilka have decided to boycott the purchase of basmati from farmers after their consignments of paddy purchased from other states were barred from entering factories. They also demanded cancellation of FIRs registered against millers for bringing paddy from other states.

Rice millers have suspended operations since Saturday as they alleged that the police are working under the pressure of protesting farmers who are “falsely shaping a narrative that entire paddy arriving from other states is illegal”.

A rice exporter from Jalalabad town, Kapil Gumber said a truck transporting about 350 quintal basmati purchased from Sirsa was impounded by Bathinda police last week. “An FIR was registered at Talwandi Sabo and it was tagged as an illegal activity. Neither documents were checked nor any physical verification of unmilled food grains was conducted before initiating a police action. I had to approach the Bathinda IGP to intervene in the matter,” he said.

The state government has directed officials to impose a complete ban on the procurement of non-basmati paddy from other states.

However, there is no restriction on the purchase and transportation of basmati paddy by Punjab millers from other states. Millers buy basmati from Haryana, Rajasthan, UP, and Uttarakhand for exports.

Senior vice-president of Punjab Rice Millers Association Bal Krishan Bali said rice shellers are facing hardships as the authorities are disrupting transportation of basmati paddy at various places. He said the association supports the boycott call on the purchase of basmati by Fazilka millers.

Entrepreneur Darshan Lal said millers will not resume work until the state government urges protesting farmers not to stop paddy consignments from reaching their destinations.

He said FIRs were lodged without verification of paddy.

Balwinder Singh of Goraya Industries said that two trucks carrying 1509 basmati paddy variety from Narela in Delhi were turned back by protesting farmers from highway toll plaza at Teh Qalandar near Jalalabad.

He has decided to move Punjab and Haryana high court seeking damages to his paddy by protesting farmers and lack of administrative intervention.

Punjab mandi board officials pointed out an ambiguity in a letter written by the director, food and civil supplies Anindita Mitra to the state police chief on October 21 to restrict the “arrival of paddy from other states to Punjab

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