Punjab to curb bogus milling menace: Minister
Chandigarh : With thousands of bags of illegally stocked rice being recovered during raids on rice mills in recent days, Punjab's Food and Civil Supplies Minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu on Saturday said the Punjab government was committed to check the bogus milling menace.
"Bogus milling is rampant but the state government will leave no stone unturned to curtail it," Ashu said in a statement here.
He said that raids conducted on Saturday in rice mills in Ferozepur and Jalalabad constituencies have unearthed 23,500 bags of rice stacked in two mills of the area while 91,000 bags of illegally stored rice were unearthed by the departmental teams on Thursday.
He said the raids had revealed the owners did not possess requisite documents to validate the source of the procured paddy and rice.
"In Jalalabad, the team found 8,000 bags of rice stored in SV Plywood Factory. The efforts are afoot to verify the owner," the minister said.
"A raid was also conducted at Golden Rice Mill, Zira where the miller locked the premises and fled," he added.
"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," he said.
Ashu said that the involvement of millers in the illegal hoarding of previous years' rice procured through black market at cheaper price with the intent to circulate the same in the ensuing kharif marketing season shows that the "malice is deeply rooted in the system".
"We are conducting raids and if need be, a bigger surgical strike will be made to purge the system," Ashu added.
Agrarian state Punjab contributes nearly 50 per cent of food grains (paddy and wheat) to the national kitty despite having just 1.54 per cent of the country's geographical area.