Kolkata, With the kharif crop procurement being affected due to shortage of gunny bags, the West Bengal government has urged the jute regulator to take action against mills which are deliberately not clearing the supply backlog of the food packaging material.
Apart from West Bengal, several other states such as Haryana, Punjab, Odisha, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh have been facing the problem of gunny bag shortage and seeking the Jute Commissioner”s intervention to resolve it but the regulator remains soft on erring mills, an official of the Jute Balers” Association alleged.
Mills have a backlog of 3.04 lakh bales of jute bags as of November-end, he said.
West Bengal Food and Supplies Department wrote a letter to the Jute Commissioner”s Office on December 1, requesting it to take “appropriate action” against mills which are willingly not clearing their backlogs.
The kharif crop procured from farmers are lying in the open, it said.
“The Jute Commissioner”s Office has issued an order to reduce the stock limit to an unsustainable level of 500 quintals to prevent hoarding. But it is silent on the mills which are not supplying their committed quantities of gunny bags to the governments,” the Jute Balers” Association official alleged.
It has the power to take steps against the mills for the supply shortage but are “not taking any effective action against them”, another industry source said.
“The jute bag shortage poses a challenge to the state governments as the procurement is affected and it creates tension among farmers,” he said.
Asked about the allegation, an official of the Jute Commissioner”s Office said, “We write to mills to fulfil their commitment and prices are fixed based on an agreed formula. We will look into it.
“The office has the power to debar a mill from supplying bags if it is found to be a wilful defaulter. Such actions are not common. We extend the timeline for supply.”
Millers claimed that their manufacturing activities have been disrupted as raw jute supplies have not normalised.
Jute balers, however, rubbished the allegation, saying that the raw material supplies were restricted to mills which have dues. PTI