With rice millers across Patiala district decided not to lift the procured paddy from various grain markets and to get it stored in their godowns Friday onwards, both procuring agencies and farmers are sent in tizzy over the prospect of further procurement in the absence of space at grain markets to off load fresh paddy stocks brought in there by farmers.
The rice millers' decision came in the wake of denial by a central team from New Delhi to visit Patiala and its neighbouring districts to assess paddy damage.
In their two-day visit - the team comprising deputy director of food, union government, and AK Sinha, general manager, Food Corporation of India (FCI) - visited grain markets of Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Fatehgarh Sahib to assess the damage caused to paddy harvest by unfavourable weather conditions.
Gurdeep Singh Cheema, president of Patiala district Rice Millers' Association, said the decision was taken after serious contemplation after refusal by the central team to visit Patiala and other districts, including Sangrur and Bathinda, which were facing the problem of discoloration of grains owing to increased moisture content.
"Apart from lifting the procured crop, we will not even store a single gunny bag in our mills unless and until the central team visits here. Moreover, the damage to paddy can be assessed from the fact that we are getting only 55 kg rice instead of the normal 67 kg after milling a quintal paddy,"he said.
The decision of the rice millers at the peak of paddy procurement have left both farmers and officials of procuring agencies in a sticky situation with possible glut of both procured and fresh stock of paddy at various grain markets across the district.
According to information, around 7.4 lakh metric tonne paddy have off loaded at different purchasing centers so far, of which around 7.24 lakh MT has been procured by various procuring agencies.
However, 2.7 lakh MT of the total procured paddy is yet to be lifted from grain markets.
District controller of food and civil supplies (DCFCS) Ajayveer Sarao said: "Rice millers have been behaving in an arbitrary manner, as boycotting lifting of the procured paddy from grain markets is not a solution. They can approach the district administration officials to sort out the issue."