Starting November, with the jute industry failing to supply the required quantity of jute bags to pack and store the crops ,this shortage of gunny bags may create hindrance in ongoing kharif procurement.
Confronting a raw material crisis with low yields of raw jute for the Amphan in West Bengal and floods in Assam, the jute mills are also combating price rigging and hoarding of the golden fibre thereof putting the industry in a disarray, according to a highly placed textile ministry official.
While average spot prices of raw jute are hovering at around Rs 6,000 per quintal, much above the average MSP of Rs 4,225 per quintal for the jute year 2020-21, the textile ministry has barred stocking more than 1,500 quintal of raw jute in one’s own account asking to sell out the excess stock from August 25 onwards.
Despite the jute commissioner’s office order regarding regular inspection of godowns to prevent stocking beyond the prescribed limit, hoarding is in continuance disrupting supplies, industry sources said.
Sanjay Kajaria, former chairman, Indian Jute Mills Association (IJMA), told FE the government has placed orders for 23 lakh jute bales equivalent of jute bags for the kharif season, ‘but we (IJMA) have made clear that the jute mills will be able to execute order of up to 13 lakh bales equivalent jute bags, given the supply constraint of the fibre’.
‘Although the short supply is not being felt at the moment since jute growers are in the process of selling their produce, the crisis will be felt from January giving rise to possibility of a number of mills closing down,’ Kajaria said.
Recently three jute mills, North Brooke, Gondal Para and Savin Yemco, resumed operation in West Bengal, re- employing around 15,000 people, with an eye on the huge government orders. But executing the orders has posed a challenge.
As of October, total outstanding in supply of jute bags stands at 5.52 lakh equivalent of jute bales of the government’s total production control and supply order (PCSO) of 9.85 lakh of jute bales equivalent jute bags between June and August this year. ‘If the indentment of bags are not supplied as per requirement, the (kharif) procurement operation will suffer serious setback,’ Koushik Chakraborty, deputy jute commissioner, said, adding indenting agencies such as Food Corporation of India and other state agencies are concerned over supply of jute bags.
Article – Vikas Chandra Agarwal