65 pc rice mills in Pabna shut | Greenwatch Dhaka | The leading online daily of Bangladesh

65 pc rice mills in Pabna shut

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With the rice imported from the neighboring country India available on the market, the demand for the local varieties of the staple has been on decline pushing 65 per cent of the rice mills in Pabna district of the northern region into closure. Around 800 rice mills in the district, including Ishwardi, which is a hub for rice, are also facing shutdown for the slump in sale of the locally produced rice.The recession in the rice industry here has brought many of the rice mill owners to their knees while some 20,000 workers depending on those are living amid extreme hardship with their families.While talking to this correspondent, mill owners said as rice sale has fallen sharply in the last two months, they have to count loss of Tk15-30,000 from milling a truck of rice.It has become almost impossible for them to run business facing such
heavy losses.Sadek Ali Biswas, owner of a rice mill in Ishwardi, said fearing loss, none of them dares to crush paddy.
Consequently, about 20,000 mill owners, paddy-rice traders and workers are now lying idle in Ishwardi.
Almost half of the rice mill workers here are females, said Sadek.The wholesale rice market in Ishwardi witnessed lacklustre trading in the past several months, especially for lack of transport during the political turmoil featuring blockade and hartal.Consequently, huge stock of local varieities of rice remained unsold and added to this, rice imported from India has flooded the local markets meanwhile, lowering the price of the staple further. Under the present circumstances, many of the traders are forced to keep their business suspended.Traders in the local markets said Guti-Swarna variety of paddy is now being sold at Tk595-600 per maund as against the earlier price of Tk 700-750 while Sumon-Swarna variety is being sold at Tk600-625 each maund coming down from Tk715-720.
BRRI-49 paddy is available at Tk600 per maund as against Tk800 earlier while BRRI-39 is selling at Tk600 per maund down from Tk 800 and Parija paddy at Tk 450-500 down from Tk 700-750.Besides, traders also fear that if the situation continues, the price of IRRI-Boro paddy, which has already started appearing in the market, will come down to Tk300-350.Rice mill owners observed that the farmers, rice mill owners, rice traders and workers are facing heavy losses due to double standard of the government, as the government imports rice on the one hand and exports the item as well.Fazlur Rahman, president of Rice Traders Association, said, “After inquiry, we came to know that there is no information of rice import with the food and commerce ministries.”Some corrupt people in the government are importing rice from India in the name of animal feed, creating a crisis in the local market, he alleged.
He also urged the government to take immediate necessary steps for the interest of farmers, rice mill owners, workers and traders.Idris Ali Biswas, president of Pabna Rice Mill Association, said the price of rice imported from India is lower than that of the locally produced rice.While one sack of Indian varieties of rice is selling at Tk1400-1600, locally produced rice is available at Tk1700-2000 per sack.Consumers have to buy a kg of Indian rice at Tk28/29 while for the local varieties, they have to count Tk 35/37 per kg. -UNB, Pabna

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