The Textile Ministry has decided no further dilution in the rules for compulsory use of such bags for packaging of foodgrain and sugar this year as it would have severe impact on lakhs of workers and jute farmers.
The Textiles Ministry decided to retain the recommendation of 90 percent minimum jute for food grain and 20 percent for sugar, as recommended by the standing advisory committee for the current season. The jute industry, which is struggling to cope with sharp fall in orders of jute bags, has got a breather.
At a meeting with representatives of the jute industry recently, senior officials from the Textile Ministry said that next year, the mandated requirement for jute bags for packaging foodgrain will be watered down further, resulting in lower orders for jute mills.
A meeting was called by the Textiles Secretary recently to review the minimum use of jute bags recommended by the standing advisory committee, as it had received adverse comments from the Ministries of Food, Finance and Fertilisers & Chemicals, which felt it was too high, said Indian Jute Manufacturing Association (IJMA) chief Raghavendra Gupta...
Gupta further said that they were told to reduce their dependence on the Jute Packaging Material Act (JPMA) as it would be diluted more next year.
The process of dilution of the Act â€“ which mandates use of jute for packaging of sugar and food grain â€“ started during the UPA regime. The sugar industry, in particular, is up in arms against the provisions of the Act as it finds plastic bags to be a cheaper option.
Because of continuous dilution of the JPMA, the jute industry is reeling under demand crisis over the last year and a half, with over seven-eight mills closing down and production being cut across the industry. This has left about one lakh workers jobless, according to IJMA.
Jute manufacturers have urged the Government to help promote alternative uses of jute in areas such as geo-textiles. States such as West Bengal will find jute geo-textiles very useful in all three major areas of their applications â€“ road construction, river bank protection and slope management.
The material has been accepted by some other States and the Indian Railways for alternative applications, according to IJMA
It has also been witnessed that over the last two month there is a decline in raw jute price by more than 15 percent.
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