BANGALORE: A state government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul, said writer George Bernard Shaw.This appears to hold true of Congress government’s Anna Bhagya scheme. The government has increased the levy on rice mill owners by 10-fold to run its recently launched flagship scheme.
“Earlier the government was collecting 1.5 lakh tonnes per year as levy. But after the cheap rice scheme, it was raised to 13.5 lakh tonnes,” said Karnataka Rice Mill Owners Association (KRMOA) vice-president B M Nanjaiah. The association has threatened to launch a protest against the move in November. They are planning a meet on November 6 to impress upon the government to limit the levy to one lakh tonnes.
That’s not all. The government has also ordered not to stock over 3,000 quintals of paddy in each rice mill.
Mill owners say it is impossible to meet the new target set by the government considering they could meet only 33 per cent of the target of 1.5 lakh tonnes last year.
Food and civil supplies minister Dinesh Gundu Rao said : “The decision was taken in line with directions from the Centre which has asked states to collect levy of 25% from rice owners. We have fixed the levy rice target for each mill on basis of the electricity it consumes.”
The minister said he is ready for a dialogue with mill owners on the issue. “Last year, they failed to meet the 1.5 lakh tonnes target. Did the government harm them ? We understand their plight. These things can be sorted out through dialogues. Where is the need to protest ?” Rao asked.
Nanjaiah, however, said mill owners would each incur a loss of Rs 20,000 for hulling 100 quintals of paddy if they were to give levy as per the new government order.