Chandigarh: The Punjab Government in a process not to permit more rice-Sheller industries in Paddy deficit area in the State. Near about 130 applications have been received for the licence to start new rice mill. The government is likely to implement this policy from 2018-19. Although the efforts are being made to save the existing rice Sheller industries, but the steps will be taken to stop the corrupt practice in custom milling where there is allegedly enough graft game is played to store the paddy from paddy efficient area to paddy deficient area. Sources in the department told that the Government had sought legal opinion from the Advocate General office, which has endorsed the stand of the Punjab Government.According to information, there are 3600 rice Sheller across the State, but only 3,150 Sheller are active, which had made business with the Punjab Government in the last season. There were 1400 rice Sheller which had no business for the last many years and these mills have been closed since last few years. There is outstanding of Rs 200 crore toward these mills. Government had offered one time settlement scheme (OTS) for such mills, but only 250 mills have come forward to settle their outstanding. With the efforts of Food and Civil Supply department, Rs 25 crore has been recovered from closed rice Sheller owners.Other-hand the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) has held responsible the Food and Civil Supply Department for failure to get paddy milled with stipulated times which resulted into a financial loss of thousands of crores. Sources told that more than 1900 rice Shellers are in paddy deficient area, where the production of this crop is below norms.
But transforming of paddy from surplus area to paddy deficient area such as Patilala, Sangrur, Mansa, Barnala and Ludhiana, had cost much as the Government had to allot procurement share for custom milling. When contacted to Food and Civil Supply Minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu, he told that a report has been prepared in this regards and will be tabled before the CM, who will decide its fate. While, the President of Rice Miller Association Punjab Gian Chand Bhardwaj said if new rice mills are permitted to be installed in paddy deficient area, there will be situation of hue and cry between millers.
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