Punjab F&CS Minister Vows to Curtail Bogus Rice Milling
The state of Punjab produces half of all rice in India, but it is also beset with the problem of bogus rice milling. With raids on rice mills having revealed vast stocks of hoarded rice in the last couple of days, Punjab’s Food and Civil Supplies (F&CS) Minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu vowed to “leave no stone unturned to curtail (bogus milling).” Admitting that this issue was “rampant” in his state, the Minister provided brief details on how raids over the last week have turned up more than 1 lakh bags of rice that were stored illegally. The idea behind this illegal hoarding is to be able to sell stock that is purchased at a lower than minimum support price on the black market, only to be circulated as regular stock and fetch a higher price in the following season.
The Minister pointed out that this practice was unfortunately “deeply rooted in the system”, and went on to detail the extent to which those perpetrating this sort of fraud would go by providing an example, saying, “Another raid was conducted at Anil Narula Rice Mills in Zira where the owner and his staff were non-cooperative. They misbehaved and manhandled the team of food and civil supply department. During the scuffle the owner locked the mill premises and fled. However, the staff is keeping a strict vigil over the mill premises as they had spotted huge stacks of paddy/rice in the mill.”
Promising to put an end to this practice if necessary, the Minister concluded with, “We are conducting raids and if need be, a bigger surgical strike will be made to purge the system.”