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Punjab

Posted at: Sep 17, 2019, 6:52 AM; last updated: Sep 17, 2019, 6:52 AM (IST)

Scheme to recover Rs 2K cr from millers okayed

‘Modified’ custom milling policy also approved
Scheme to recover Rs 2K cr from millers okayed
Move aimed at reviving sick rice units in state

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 16

The state Cabinet on Monday approved a settlement scheme to recover Rs 2,041.51 crore from defaulting rice millers.

Over the years, the principal outstanding amount that the millers owe to the five state procurement agencies — Pungrain, Markfed, Punsup, Punjab Agro Foodgrains Corporation and the Punjab State Warehousing Corporation — has swelled to Rs 2,041.51 crore and the compound interest has multiplied to over Rs 5,000 crore.

Aiming to revive the sick rice units, the Cabinet on Monday decided that the millers in default, up to and including crop year 2014-15, shall be eligible to take the benefit of this scheme. However, the scheme excludes defaulters who had availed the OTS policy of September 2017, when the government had recovered Rs 32 crore under the previous plan.

The defaulters will have the option to pay the total recoverable amount i.e. the principal amount plus 10 per cent simple interest per annum, within 30 days from the date of issue of ‘Quantification for settlement letter’. They can also choose to pay 50 per cent of the total recoverable amount within 30 days and the balance within 60 days from the date of issue of the settlement letter with 6 per cent interest.

Further, 25 per cent of the total recoverable amount can be paid within 7 days from the date of issue of the settlement letter, with another 25 per cent within 60 days with 10 per cent interest. The third instalment of 25 per cent will be payable within 90 days with 12 per cent interest and the balance in 120 days with 15 per cent interest.

A detailed standard operating procedure for the settlement of claims under this scheme will be issued by the Director, Food and Supplies.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet on Monday also approved the Custom Milling Policy for Paddy (Kharif 2019-20) with more security provisions, including criminal penalty for diversion of rice.

The sole criterion for the allotment of free paddy to mills during 2019-20 will be the miller’s performance in the previous year i.e. 2018-19. An additional percentage-wise incentive will be provided to the mills as per their date of delivery of rice against the milling of custom paddy, including RO paddy in the previous year.

The units that had completed their milling by January 31, 2019, will be eligible for additional 15 per cent free paddy, the spokesperson said, adding that those who had completed the rice delivery by February 28, 2019, will get an additional 10 per cent of paddy free.

In order to ensure the security of paddy stocks, the millers this year will be required to furnish bank guarantee equal to the value of 5 per cent of the acquisition cost of allocable free paddy above 3,000 metric tonnes (MT). The move will further enlarge the ambit of guarantee clause to over 1,250 more rice mills, taking the total number of such units to 1,900. In addition, the millers will also have to deposit custom milling security at the rate of Rs 125 for each MT of paddy stored.

To guard against any diversion of NFSA/PDS rice, a provision for initiation of criminal proceedings under relevant sections of the IPC and the Essential Commodities Act has been added in case such practice is detected. The rice miller will be required to ensure that the paddy/rice purchased in his own account and stored in the mill is the genuine trade commodity and not diverted from rice meant for the welfare schemes.

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