Conflicts in releasing paddy stocks

Conflicts in releasing paddy stocks

Written by Staff Writer

14 Jul, 2019 | 9:22 pm

COLOMBO (News 1st): According to the District Secretaries a crisis situation has arisen due to the Paddy Marketing Board not releasing paddy stocks in line with the decision taken by the Cabinet. However, the Paddy Marketing Board says that they are not releasing stocks of paddy in line with the decision taken by the Cost of Living Committee.

The District Secretaries say that a certain tender procedure should be followed in order to sell state-owned paddy stocks abiding the decision taken by the Cabinet. They point out that the money has already been received from the buyers.

When News 1st inquired the Chairman of the Paddy Marketing Board, Kasthuri Anuradhanayake, said that the Cost of Living Committee decided not to release the state-owned paddy stocks as the country’s safety food stocks must be maintained.

He further said that the decision reached by this committee on the 2nd of this month was to give instructions to the District Secretaries to preserve paddy stocks without releasing them, which was what he followed. He continued to say that however in the meantime the district secretaries had decided to tender and then sell the stocks of paddy. We saw that the paddy was tendered and sold at a price below than what it cost.

The Paddy Marketing Board alleges that the District Secretaries had sold the paddy at a price below the cost incurred. When we questioned the District Secretary for Matale regarding this, he stated that this statement is completely false.

He further added that the Paddy Marketing Board has halted the supply of paddy, citing a statement made by the Minister at a gathering in Ampara, on how paddy was supposedly sold below cost price. Minister P. Harrison had stated that since they did not receive the expected yield this Yala season that it was kept as a buffer stock to be used during an emergency.

The National Organizer of the All Ceylon Peasant’s Federation, Namal Karunaratne speaking on the matter said that the entire affair is a huge racket because it was under the agreement that the small and medium scale mill owners will be used for the rice to be sold to the public at a reasonable rate. He added that there is a risk of the stocks being sold to a few large scale mill owners in the country in a secretive manner.

However, the subject Minister denied such allegations while adding that with the tender process it could result in such situations.

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