Minister promises to resolve paddy issue in Trincomalee | Daily News

Minister promises to resolve paddy issue in Trincomalee

One million two hundred thousand kilograms of paddy had been piled up at 14 rice mills since the price that the Finance Ministry promised to pay them to produce rice out of the paddy stocks during the Maha Season in 2019 and 2020 have been reduced.

The stocks have been with the small-scale rice traders in the Trincomalee District to produce rice.

Small-scale rice mill owner K.G. Indunil Anura Kumara, a resident of Serunuwara in Trincomalee, said he explained to Trade Minister Bandula Gunawardena the situation last Saturday.

He and 14 other small-rice mill owners had requested the authorities on several occasions to pay the agreed price for rice, but no one intervened. He then appealed to Minister Gunawardena to provide the agreed price to release 1.2 million kg of paddy to the market to avert a shortage of rice.

“It was during the 2019-2020 Maha season that we bought the paddy from the Government at an guaranteed price. We stocked the paddy in our storages. Everything was done with the agreement we reached with the Government Agent and the Divisional Secretary.” he said.

“Fourteen mill owners have stocked 1.7 million kg of paddy and now 1.2 million kg remain. I have 441,000 kg. It was agreed to pay Rs.4 for storage fee, Rs. 6 per kilo to process boiled rice and Rs. 4.40 per kilo to process raw (Kekulu) rice. But now we were told only Rs. 3.10 will be given for boiled rice and Rs.2.10 for raw (Kekulu) rice. It costs Rs. 36 to convert paddy to rice and packs them. Then there is no point in taking that money. Now the Government Agent says the Ministry has instructed to auction the paddy and keep the money in accounts,” he said.

“We saved the stock of paddy from thieves for eight months. It cost me Rs. 280,000 just to deploy a security guard. The Army asked for protection since these are Government paddy but we refused. Rs. 45,000 has been spent to save paddy from pests and because of this stock, we could not buy paddy, “he said.

The Minister promised them that the issue would be resolved today.