Written by Tharushan Fernando
07 Jan, 2017 | 8:42 pm
The All Island Agrarian Federation and United Rice Producers Association on Saturday raided several mills today that are due to receive paddy from government paddy storage facilities
The name list of mill owners to whom paddy is to be released from government paddy storage facilities was handed over to the agrarian associations by Minister P. Harrison yesterday.
However, the United Rice Producers Association charges that the list was made without any basis, and names were entered according to personal interest.
They further noted that the name of a business attached to a particular rice mill is also included in this list. A group from the association on Saturday observed the rice mill in question and reported that the mill is still under construction.
The United Rice Producers Association charged that as a result many small scale mill owners are greatly inconvenienced.
“Rice stocks are issued to their friends”, said the President of the United Rice Producers Association, Mujith Perera who called for this kind of procedure to be stopped
The minister yesterday told us to prove if some corruption is taking place,Today we proved it…”, he said
A group of members of The All Island Agrarian Federation raided the government paddy storage facility in Savasthipura, Anuradhapura today.
President of The All Island Agrarian Federation, Ashoka Gunasiri (Naachchaduwa) said that people are unable to bare the increase in the price of rice and the main reason is that the government doesn’t have a programme with a proper vision.
He charged that at this moment what is happening is a great scam and small mill owners don’t get anything and our mills are closing down
Meanwhile, the All Island Agrarian Federation also observed the Maeliya government paddy storage facility Polpithigama.
President of The All Island Agrarian Federation,Namal Karunaratne said that a large scale corruption is taking place through this rice deal and this can be proved
“We can prove this and we have evidence”,he said and called for investigations in to the matter and he further requested that whilst investigations are to take place paddy issuing must be stopped temporarily.
Meanwhile, the Rs.80 tax that was imposed on imported rice was reduced to Rs.15 with effect from Midnight yesterday.
Accordingly the Ministry of Finance said that any businessman in the private sector has the opportunity to import rice.
However, the The All Island Agrarian Federation says that there is no need to import rice.
According to Namal Karunaratne there is no rice shortage in the country and taking in to account the report of the auditor general, there are 817,000 metric tonnes of rice in the country. there were three million 217,000 metric tonnes of rice in 2016
He pointed out that 2.4 million metric tonnes of rice was used up in 2016. Therefore 817,000 metric tonnes should be remaining
He further noted that 1.2 million metric tonnes of rice are expected from the Mah’ season harvest while the available stock would be sufficient until August.
“Then why is the government importing rice suddenly? Yesterday we pointed out how to sell rice at Rs.70,” he said. He also noted that there is no need to import rice if the hidden stocks are taken out.
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