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May 2024

Millers miffed with Punjab Government over delay in fortified rice supply

Tribune News Service

Balwant Garg

Faridkot, January 3

Rice millers are miffed with the Punjab Government for delay in supply of fortified rice that needed to start custom milling of paddy stored with them.

“Punjab has about 5,500 rice mills. Despite the mills have been allotted paddy by food grain agencies in October-November last year, they could not start the custom milling of the paddy in absence of fortified rice,” said Bharat Bhushan Binta, president of Punjab Rice Industries Association.

Can’t start milling

Punjab has about 5,500 rice mills. Despite the mills having been allotted paddy by foodgrain agencies in October-November last year, they could not start the custom milling of the paddy in the absence of supply of fortified rice. —Bharat Bhushan Binta, President, Punjab rice industries association

“To make ordinary rice grains enhanced with micronutrient, the millers have to blend 1 per cent of fortified rice in ordinary rice grains. This chemically fortified rice is supplied to the millers by around 200 specially established units in the state,” Binta said.

But these units have not started production of the fortified rice as such units were under inspection of the Food and Civil Supplies Department, he said.

Months of delay by the department in making inspection of the fortified rice making units has led to non-supply of the fortified rice to the millers, Binta said, adding that millers were bound to supply rice grains artificially enhanced with micronutrients such as iron, vitamin B and folic acid.

The department director, Puneet Goyal, said the issue was being solved.

Rice millers of Faridkot met Faridkot MLA Gurdit Singh on Wednesday, seeking his intervention in the matter. The millers said earlier 25 to 30 per cent of the milling used to be completed by the end of December, but this time, they were yet to start milling in the first week of January.

To fortify rice with factory-made nutrients, a powder “pre-mix” of vitamins and minerals – iron, vitamin B12, folic acid – is added to powdered rice and broken grains. The paste is machine-carved to manufacture new rice grains, which are mixed into grains being given as food rations.

Making of chemically fortified rice requires regular monitoring to check quality of powder pre-mix of vitamins and minerals that is added to the rice and ensure that micro-nutrients were as per the Recommended Dietary Allowances scheme. QR Code

Published Date: January 4, 2024

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