Written by Tharushan Fernando
23 Dec, 2016 | 7:44 pm
Amid a sharp drop in rice production in the main cultivation season, small and medium mill owners allege that the government is only releasing paddy stocks to large scale mill owners.
The All Ceylon Peasants Federation together with the Small and Medium Rice Mill Owners raised their opposition against paddy stocks from a state owned storage facility in Meegalewa being released to a large rice mill owner.
Secretary of Small and Medium Scale Mill Owners Association,G.D.Somachandra noted that yesterday when the deposit was to be placed the Chairman of the Paddy Marketing Board said to come before noon and he would create the opportunity to place the deposit,however, he was not present even at noon.
Mr.Somachandra further noted that the chairman had then said to come at 2 pm and never showed up and it was clear that the paddy in the North West is being released an it is clear that a broker is being created to sell off paddy for 49 rupees
National Organizer for the All Ceylon Peasants Federation,Namal Karunaratne added that a kilogram of Nadu is being released by the state for 43 rupees and 65 cents.
He charged that a person by the name of M.S.M Niyas has purchased paddy from the Meegalewa Storage and they are providing the paddy to the Lucky Rice Mill and the Mohomadiya Rice Mill and a commission of almost Rs.6 is made from every kilogram of paddy.
“So persons who purchase paddy for Rs.49 keep a profit and sell it for 55 rupees.” he said
He pointed out that most of the paddy goes to Araliya , Nipuna, Nawaratne , Hiru and Lucky and these persons steer the rice market in the country and if this is the situation in this particular storage, you can imagine the situation of the storages facilities across the country and this is all decided by them on the commission that they recieve
Lorries that arrived to purchase paddy had to turn back due to this protest.
Convening a media briefing this morning, the Maradagahamula United Rice Producers Association said that the price of rice could be brought down if the paddy stocks owned by the state are released to small and medium scale mill owners.
Chairman of Maradagahamula United Rice Producers Association,B.K. Ranjith added that paddy stocks have not been released to small or medium scale mill owners but stocks have been released only to 10 selected large scale mills.
“Only they have been given the paddy stocks. The consumer cannot hope for any relief from this …” he said
United People’s Freedom Alliance MP, Indika Anuruddha said there is no management in the Government and the president is not aware of what the Prime Minister is doing and the other Minister are not allowed to make decisions.
He added that the Government on one end is trying to create a super Minister and on the other end the Ministers and MPs are not aware of it.
“Even if they create the super minister, they will not be able to convert paddy to rice and feed the people …” he said
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