The Punjab Rice Millers Association (PRMA) has warned that if 'corrupt practices' did not stop in the Food Corporation of India (FCI) during the coming paddy season, then the rice millers would boycott the milling process and start a state-wide agitation.
The PRMA alleged that the authorities of the FCI were not showing any interest to check corruption in the procurement system though the Union government has taken it seriously.
Addressing a state-level meeting here on Thursday, Tarsem Saini, state president of the PRMA, said that there was no doubt that the Union government had formed some best policies for purchasing and storing of foodgrains, however, at the ground level, the policies are not being implemented.
He said the FCI had issued a circular that while accepting the custom-milled rice, the authorities would record the weight of only 10% of the delivery for acceptance and storage of the stock in the warehouses. "But, the FCI is not willing to record the weight of the whole consignment of rice even as the computerised weighing machines are available with them at their warehouses," said Saini.
During the meeting, the rice millers said that now Adesh Partap Singh Kairon, minister for food and civil supplies, has agreed to allocate and distribute paddy in a uniform way to the millers by constituting sub-committees at the local level so as to end corruption in the allotment of paddy quota to the millers.
"Under this concept, we are going to set up special committees at the district level across the state to check corrupt practices during the period of paddy allocation," he said.
Rice millers raised their voice against the FCI and said that, in most cases, bribe is demanded from millers for acceptance of the stock and for quality assurance.
PRMA leaders said, "FCI authorities also blackmail rice milers on the pretext of quality checking of the stored rice and by conducting tests in FCI laboratories. The union government has recently set up the Central Grain Analysis Laboratory (CGAL) at New Delhi and all the samples of disputed cases must be referred to it and the report of this laboratory should be considered final."