Taking up a contempt petition of the Punjab Rice Millers Association, Patiala, alleging that even after the court's orders, Punjab government agencies were not allowing them to deliver the balance milling rice for the kharif season 2012-13 to the Food Corporation of India (FCI), the Punjab and Haryana high court has issued notices to the state government as well as the Punjab State Civil Supplies Corporation Limited (Punsup).
The petition came up for hearing before the court headed by justice Mahesh Grover, highlighting that the authorities had failed to comply with the high court orders issued on December 31, directing the agencies to accept the balance rice from the millers.
The petitioner association members had been milling paddy on behalf of the procurement agencies of the department of food and supplies for the central pool and had been allocated paddy for the kharif season 2012-13, which was required to be delivered up to July 31, 2013. Though the association members delivered the rice into the central pool on behalf of Punsup, but could not deliver the complete required stock by July 31.
The association members reasoned that it was due to the labour problem and weather conditions, coupled with the fact that the stocks were not being accepted by the FCI for about a month due to wheat procurement.
It was stated that the state government agencies asked the petitioner association orally to deposit a security of the balance rice, with an undertaking that in case the date of milling is extended by the Centre, the balance rice would be delivered in the central pool, entitling them to refund of the security. The association members complied with the directions.
Later though, the FCI on December 10, 2013, extended the date for delivery of the balance rice till January 18, 2014, but state agencies restrained the petitioners from delivering the balance custom-milled rice back to the FCI.