The Punjab government Friday urged the centre to ease the norms on gunny bags as the foodgrain producing state faced a shortage of these during procurement seasons twice a year.
Punjab Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Minister Adaish Partap Singh Kairon, who met union Textiles Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar in New Delhi, said that he explained the problems being faced by the state in receiving packaging material for foodgrains due to the provisions of the Jute Packaging Materials (Compulsory Use in Packaging Commodities) Act, 1987.
Kairon said that the state government had faced difficulties in the past in getting timely supply of gunny bags for procurement of wheat and paddy every year as the bags are supplied from Kolkata where the jute mills are located.
He said that flexibility was required in the Jute Packaging Act, 1987, to provide alternate sources of procurement of bags to supplement recurrent shortages in supply of gunny bags.
Kairon also said that since Punjab was the biggest buyer of gunny bags, the state should have a representative on the advisory committee of the textiles ministry.
He said that Punjab was also facing difficulty in distributing wheat to people under its "Atta-Dal" scheme as while it wanted to supply wheat in 30 kg consumer friendly high density polyethylene (HDPE) bags, the union food and public distribution ministry allowed distribution only in jute bags.
Kairon sought amendment in the current provision of consumer bags of less than 25 kg to be enhanced to 30 kg.
"This was so that fresh wheat from the current crop can be delivered to the consumer in pre-weighed and sealed bags without any pilferage and shortage," he noted.
Green Revolution state Punjab contributes nearly 60 percent of the food grains (wheat and paddy) to the national kitty despite having only 1.54 percent of the country's geographical area.