The HC had asked all the members of the Jute Balers Association (JBA) to disclose their raw jute stock to the JC within seven days of the order.
The Jute Commissioner’s (JC) office has issued an order wherein it has specified the stock limit for each and every jute mill of the country's 72 operational jute mills at present.
Majority of the jute balers and stockists have not complied with the Calcutta High Court’s December 14 order prompting the jute commissioner(JC) to start search and seizure of raw jute. The HC had asked all the members of the Jute Balers Association (JBA) to disclose their raw jute stock to the JC within seven days of the order. It also directed the JC to allow time to stockists to bring down their stocks to 500 quintal if they held more. The balers and the stockists failing to disclose stocks within seven days, the JC should continue search and seizure, the HC order said. Koushik Chakraborty, deputy jute commissioner told FE, the JBA has given a members’ list comprising 197 names but only 3 of them have disclosed their stocks. There are twenty other applications of non JBA members disclosing stocks but Chakraborty refrained from mentioning the quantum disclosed. “Going by the HC order we will start our search and seizure with the help of the West Bengal government. The Bihar government has also promised us help in seizing hoarded raw jute,” Chakraborty said.
Raw jute at the open market continued to remain at an average Rs 6,000/quintal, though prices touched Rs 6,900/quintal in Bengal and Rs 7,150/q in other states during early December.
While the Indian Jute Mills Association (IJMA) pleaded impossibility of running their mills buying raw jute at Rs 6,000 /quintal,the JBA argued, non constraints in supplies with 10.52 lakh of jute bales being stocked by mills as of November this year, highest in the last seven years.
According to JBA in a letter to West Bengal finance and industry minister Amit Mitra, also chairman of the GOM on Jute, the farmers were holding 25-30 percent of the raw jute stock, mills around 35%, non balers and stockists around 30% and balers 5%. But IJMA confronted, the JBA has mislead the labour commissioner, stating that farmers held stocks of 75%.
IJMA director general Debasish Roy in a letter to Mitra said, “Middlemen are sitting on a stock pile of 22-25 lakh bales. Since the last meeting of the GOM (on 27 November) only 50% of the consumption of raw jute by the mills are out of fresh purchase.”
The GOM has asked the JC to compile all data as per HC order and submit to it before the next meeting on December 29.