The Indian jute industry at present is beleaguered due to shortage of orders. The industry maintains that dearth of orders has forced it to cut back on production, causing a spate of work suspensions.
The Jute Commissioner’s office who had begun investigation against certain mills against whom there were reports of malpractices, said on Monday that the complaints were mainly against the import of jute bags from Nepal and Bangladesh.
This was also one of the mainly behind the currently situation faced by the Indian Jute industry, which needs immediate attention.
Admitting to the charge leveled by the Jute Commissioner on imported jute bags being used to pack food grains, the beleaguered jute industry has said that this was a practice being resorted to by a section of jute traders, who were importing jute bags from Bangladesh and Nepal.
Such imports are not banned but regulations are in place to stop such bags being used for food grains packaging. Under the mandatory packaging order now in force, 90 per cent of the total food grains produced in the country and 20 percent of the sugar output are to be packed in jute bags.
This has come to be the main stay for an industry, which is losing its place to synthetic packaging materials. Nearly Rs.5,000 crore worth jute bags were purchased by various state governments, Jute Commissioner Subrata Gupta said.
According to the Indian Jute Mills’ Association Chairman, Raghavendra Gupta, it is improbable that any jute mill was involved in jute goods import. This is mainly resorted to by some jute traders. Jute bags import is estimated at 15,000 tonnes per month and accounts for the output of seven mills on an average. Imported jute bags are cheaper as they are duty-free and they enjoy various cash subsidies in the countries of origin.
However, enquiries revealed that there were several mills which were actually using imported bags. These mills had been identified and investigations would be held soon against them.
The government has taken a series of measures concerned over the state of the industry where thousands are now out of work following lock-outs in their respective mills. These measure include the setting up of an inter-ministerial committee which will examine the industry’s status and move the Centre to revive the present situation prevailing in the jute industry and its workers.
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