A day after the Punjab government announced its new Paddy Milling Policy - making the miller and procurement agency staff jointly responsible for paddy stock stored in mills - employees of all state procurement agencies have started protesting against it, and announced a boycott of the paddy purchase process that is scheduled to begin on October 1.
"How can we have a check on paddy stored on the premises of the rice miller? And how we can depute staff in all rice mills to keep a tab on stock? We will not carry out any purchase under the new policy, and will hold protest at Chandigarh on October 3," said Vidhu Shekhar Bhardwaj, vice-president of the Joint Action Committee of employees of Punjab foodgrain agencies.
He alleged, "Bureaucrats, under the pressure of rice millers, have put this clause in the policy so that they can blame the employees for scams concerning quality and quantity."
"Our role should be restricted to the purchase. Once the paddy is shifted to the rice mill, it should be responsibility of that rice miller to ensure proper quality and quantity," added Bhupinder Singh, president of the employees' committee.