Punjab & Region

Punjab CM describes new mining policy as transparent & equitable

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The Fact News Service
Chandigarh, July 29

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Friday said that in a path-breaking initiative state government has introduced the Kharif Milling Policy 2022-23 with historic improvements aimed at bringing about transparency and equity in the milling operations of paddy.

In a statement issued here, the Chief Minister said that the Milling Policy, which was passed by Cabinet on Thursday, has recognized that recycling of PDS rice from other states is a serious problem and has introduced strict measures to curb this malpractice.

He said that for the first time the procurement portal has been integrated with the billing portal of Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL), which will enable the procurement agencies to monitor the consumption of electricity units in a particular Mill and compare it with the quantity of rice claimed to have been milled by the rice sheller.

Any discrepancy shall automatically point to an attempt by the Miller to deliver cheap rice purchased from the open market /PDS and will result in blacklisting of the Mill, added Bhagwant Mann.

The Chief Minister further said that the Department has introduced Vehicle Tracking System for all trucks ferrying paddy from the Mandi to the Mill.

He said that online gate passes have also been introduced which will ensure that these are issued only once the GPS location and the photograph of the truck have been captured by the Mandi staff.

Bhagwant Mann said that the GPS location of the truck operator shall also have to match the GPS location of the Mandi before the gate pass is issued adding that these steps are expected to severely curb the resale of PDS rice coming in from other states.

The Chief Minister said that to eliminate any harassment by the procurement staff, faceless inspections for registration of Mills as well as allotment of Mills to procurement agencies have been introduced.

He said that the Miller, as and when he is ready for inspection of the mill, shall apply online to the department to conduct the inspection.

Bhagwant Mann said that thereafter, manual selection of staff to inspect any particular Mill has been eliminated, and now the inspecting staff shall be selected randomly through software.

The Chief Minister said that this randomization shall ensure that the identity of the inspecting staff is unknown to the Miller as well as officials of the procurement agencies.

He said that all inspections have been made online and these will have to be mandatorily completed within the mill premises itself, with the GPS coordinates of the inspecting staff requiring matching with the GPS coordinates of the mill.

Bhagwant Mann said that as a result no Miller shall now be called to the Government Office about the finalisation of reports of inspections.

The Chief Minister said that to ensure transparency and to check any irregularities in paddy allocation to rice shellers of varying capacities, the policy has done away with a complex system of incentives and formulae by which the entitlement of paddy of any Mill was determined.

He said that this has now been replaced by a numerical limit beyond which no Rice Miller will be given any further paddy. Bhagwant Mann further said that within this ceiling the Miller shall now be at complete liberty to apply for as many release orders as he desires.

The Chief Minister said that the manual linkage of Rice Mills with Mandis has often been a cause of discontentment amongst Millers with allegations of nepotism being attributed to such linkages.

He said that in order to introduce transparency the linkage of rice mills with Mandis shall be a completely online software-generated process based on equitable distribution and least distance principle. Bhagwant Mann said that the linkage once introduced shall be irreversible for the entire season.

The Chief Minister further said that for first time ever the Rice Millers will also have to declare, on a real time basis, any privately purchased stocks of paddy lying in their mills and any discrepancy detected at any point of time shall invite automatic blacklisting of the Mill.

He said that this is expected to further check the malaise of recycling of PDS rice during the season. Bhagwant Mann said that the Department had conducted a detail analysis of the milling of previous years to ascertain the quantity milled by rice sellers vis a vis the free paddy allocated to them.

The Chief Minister said that it had been discovered that a small number of Large Mills were often milling disproportionately high quantities of paddy, which went against the interest of the smaller Millers who constitute the biggest and most significant group.

He said that the Milling policy has, therefore, introduced equitable allocation of paddy with higher allocations to smaller Millers vis a vis the larger Millers.

The Department is also in the process of revamping the procedure for allocation of transportation and labour tenders and the details shall be shared shortly, added Bhagwant Mann.

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