Rice, sugar hoarders warned | Daily News

Rice, sugar hoarders warned

All storage facilities must register
Swift measures to control prices

Consumer Protection State Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna warned that legal action will be taken against all unregistered sugar warehouses within next week.

He told the media that while maintaining sugar storage facilities is not illegal, failure to register such stores is a punishable offence.

The State Minister said 120,000 metric tonnes of sugar was available in Government stores according to their records, adding that there is a significant stock of sugar at unregistered facilities.

He said the Government will take maximum measures to control the prices of sugar and rice.

Addressing a media briefing at the Consumer Affairs State Ministry, Alagiyawanna said brown sugar will be available at CWE and Co-operative outlets after today (September 1).

The Minister pointed out that 20 percent of the total sugar consumption is brown sugar, adding that steps will be taken to provide the brown sugar stocks to the CWE and cooperatives and only the remaining amount will be given to private traders.

He added that in order to control the price of sugar and rice, a special order was issued on June 11, 2021 authorizing the registration of paddy, rice and wheat flour stores under the Consumer Affairs Authority Act. Accordingly, as of August 13, there were 101 paddy stores, 117 rice stores, 174 white sugar stores, 152 red sugar stores and 132 maize stores that were registered.

The State Minister said that middlemen were hoarding stocks of rice and creating an artificial shortage of rice, adding that in raids conducted by the CAA last week in the North Central Province, 52 unregistered paddy storage facilities were sealed.

The Minister said that there are nearly 100 metric tonnes in those warehouses. The Minister further stated that investigations have been launched to search for unregistered sugar stores and accordingly 4,800 metric tons of sugar have been sealed and these raids will continue in the future.

The State Minister also appealed to the public to provide information regarding such unregistered stores on the 1977 hotline. Alagiyawanna also noted that during a discussion with the Attorney General on August 28, it was decided to take necessary legal action against unregistered store owners next week.

He said that a request had also been made from the Attorney General to confiscate stocks that had been stored illegally. He also noted that the amendments to the Consumer Affairs Act will be presented to Parliament next week.

He also said that currently there are stocks of sugar imported illegally at the port, adding that the Trade Ministry is in the process of obtaining these stocks for Sathosa.

The State Minister also said that consumers could obtain brown sugar without any restrictions from the Sathosa and cooperative stores and assured that measures are being taken to reduce the price of white sugar.

There will be no shortage of rice, sugar or any other essential item, the State Minister said, also referring to the new Emergency Regulations on the distribution of essentials.

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