The government has blacklisted 784 out of 876 rice mills in Pabna as they failed to supply rice to the government depot as per contracts during the rice procurement drive in the district this year.
The authorities have also decided not to enter into any agreement with them in the next two years, according to officials of the district food controller’s office.
‘The government had set a target to buy 25,000 tonnes of rice during the boro season from May 2 to August 31. During the four-month procurement drive, the rice millers supplied only 2.5 tonnes of rice,’ said Md Abdul Kader, district controller of food.
‘We repeatedly requested all the mill owners in the district to make agreement for supplying rice to the government depot. But owners of only 92 mills entered into agreements and supplied 2.5 tonnes of rice,’ he added.
‘Due to sheer negligence of the rice mill owners, the government’s rice procurement target could not be achieved this year,’ the official said.
Idris Ali Bishwas, president of District Rice Mill Owners’ Association, told New Age that most of the millers had not entered into any agreement this year as the government had fixed Tk 34 for a kilogram of rice during the procurement drive while it was selling at Tk 48 in the market.
‘The rice production cost has increased due to high price of paddy amid its poor supply and massive loss of crops in floods this year,’ he added.
As the crisis began, large mill owners purchased most of the paddy from the market while marginal millers could not buy sufficient paddy from the market, local sources said.
Food department officials in Dhaka told New Age that only 2.53 lakh tonnes of boro have been procured from the millers although the government had set the target of procuring 15 lakh tonnes of rice this year.
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