OTS policy for defaulting rice mills fails to get expected response
Punjab government’s One Time Settlement (OTS) policy has failed to get expected response from the defaulting rice millers against whom Rs 7,500 crore was outstanding, a senior official said on Monday. “The outcome of the OTS has not been up to the level of our expectations,” Principal Secretary, Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, K A P Sinha, said. He said most of the defaulting rice millers were citing “liquidity crunch” as a major reason for not opting for the OTS. There are a total of 1,537 defaulting rice millers in the state and their outstanding amount on account of undelivered rice or rice shortage was to the tune of Rs 7,500 crore.Initially, the government anticipated a recovery of Rs 2,000 to 2,400 crore from the OTS policy. Under the policy, the defaulters had the option of paying the entire outstanding principal in one go, within a period of 45 days, without having to pay any interest, or to pay in three installments with 10 per cent interest. The defaulters choosing to pay back the principal as a lump sum amount would be entitled to go back to milling from the next season, the spokesperson explained. The state government will again take up with the Centre for the clearance of Rs 1,500 crore of pending transportation charges, an official said.“Earlier, rice millers used to get milling charges of Rs 15 per quintal. But now, the stance of the Centre is that Rs 15 includes transportation charges of up to a distance from zero to 8 km,” he said. The Punjab government has consistently been paying transportation charges for zero to eight km, he said. The government of India conveyed that since it was part of Rs 15, it was not in a position to clear our bills, he added.
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