Putting a check on rice scam remains a challenge for the Haryana government, which is staring at a loss of ₹523 crore inflicted by millers who have not returned rice to the government agencies since 2012.
As per the figures provided by officials of the Haryana food and supplies department, the default amount is increasing every year as total 2,02,562 MT of rice hasn’t been returned to the state government since 2012.
The biggest default by rice mills, the information points out, was reported in 2013-14 when millers did not return 61,365 MT rice worth ₹145.29 crore. In 2019-20, 26,844 MT rice worth ₹84.75 crore failed to find its way back to the government.
Officials claimed that most of the defaulting rice mills are located in Karnal and the food and supplies department has found that 34 mills from the district did not return rice worth around ₹200 crore. On failing to make any recovery, the Karnal district food and supplies department has now attached properties of 15 millers to recover rice worth ₹60 crore.
“We are making efforts as per the government policy for the recovery from mills which failed to return rice to the government as per the schedule,” said Nishant Rathee, Karnal district food and supply controller.
In October last year, Haryana food and civil supplies department had sealed two mills of a Karnal-based trader for not returning 10,696 MT custom milled rice (CMR) worth ₹37 crore since 2019. In July last year, Panipat police had booked a mill owner for not giving back 3,349 MT rice.
Millers were engaged in procurement of paddy for the government agencies on MSP as per the CMR policy under which, they return 67% of the rice of total allotted paddy. According to the food and supplies department, recovery from these mills is a tough task for government as last year, a similar case was reported in Kaithal district when the government had also ordered registration of criminal cases against the owners of RG Enterprises, Rajnish Miglani and Girish Miglani, who had failed to return 400 MT rice worth ₹7 crore.
However, as per the officials, no recovery has been made from them till date and process to auction their properties is going on.
Two officials from Haryana food and supplies department, on the condition of anonymity, said rice millers took advantage of the weak CMR policy under which they could procure rice worth several crores with surety of ₹50 lakh.
In the case of millers, who have taken rice mills on lease, they will be allowed to procure paddy on a surety of ₹50 lakh each from two guarantors and two running rice mills.
Haryana food, civil supplies and consumer affairs department additional chief secretary (ACS) PK Das said efforts were being made for the recovery of pending rice or equal amount from these mills.
“We are now attaching their properties. These properties of rice millers and their guarantors will be auctioned for the recovery if required and criminal cases are also being registered against them,” he added.
When asked if there is a need of amendment in the CMR policy to avoid such losses in future, the ACS said, “We have already tightened the noose around defaulting rice mills. We will make sure that entire rice comes back to the government as per the schedule.”
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