Agri Business

Exempt us from EC Act, flour millers tell government

Our Bureau Bengaluru | Updated on April 13, 2020

Fearing harassment from local authorities in the upcoming wheat procurement season, flour millers have urged the Centre to exempt them from the Essential Commodities Act, 1955, being imposed by various States to ensure supplies during the ongoing lockdown.

“Flour millers should be kept out of the purview of Essential Commodities Act,” said Sanjay Puri, President of the Roller Flour Millers’ Federation of India.

In a letter to the Food Secretary, Puri said flour millers are perturbed by the move to invoke EC Act 1955, which was designed to manage extreme shortages of the post-Independence decade. In the present time of bountiful harvest and unmanageable surplus, invoking this Act during the harvest season will be self-defeating, Puri added.

The wheat harvest will begin on Tuesday in North India and the crop is seen at around 100 million tonnes (mt). Wheat stocks in Central pool stood at 23.53 mt as on April 10, reports said.

Puri suggested that the government revoke the EC Act for wheat and encourage the private sector to directly participate in the procurement and storage. The flour millers normally purchase wheat from the open market during the harvest period and stock it to carry out their operations for the rest of the year.

Further, Puri said that though the government has allowed farmers to sell their produce to consumers and trade outside the mandis, there were numerous instances of the local authorities restricting such direct trade and imposing heavy penalties. The Centre should take up the matter with States on urgent basis and allow such direct sale, he said.

Published on April 13, 2020

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