Jute mill owners are being restricted by the Office of the Jute Commissioner from selling sacking bags and carpet cloth in the open market and to private agencies. Concerned over reports that a number of jute mills are selling in the private market for price premiums, the Jute Commissioner’s office has imposed curbs on them. In a letter to the jute mills, Deputy Jute Commissioner Dipankar Mahato has directed all mills to seek consent from his office before selling sacking bags and carpet cloth to any agency. Failure to comply would invite action under the Jute and Jute Textiles Control Order, 2016. As per placements of indents by different foodgrain procuring agencies, the jute mills are mandated to supply 1.09 million bales (one bale is 180 kg) by March 13 this year. However, actual supplies as on February 12 stood at only 700,000 bales, leaving a backlog of 33.8 per cent or 350,000 bales. Over and above this backlog, the mills are required to further supply around 600,000 bales in March and April. Manish Poddar, chairman of Indian Jute Mills' Association (IJMA) said, “We are fully geared up to meet the supply requirement for foodgrains.
The jute industry is well equipped to cater to the government demand.” According to the Jute Commissioner’s office, the backlog has been created primarily due to sale of jute sacking bags in the open market. The office feels the jute industry needs to gear up its production capacity and accord top priority to the manufacture and supply of B-Twill jute bags to the government. Earlier on December 27, 2017, the Jute Commissioner's office had come up with an order asking all mills to use their sacking capacity for the exclusive manufacture of B-Twill jute bags. The order also restricted the industry from diverting supplies of sacking bags beyond government requirement till the entire quantity of the production control cum supply orders (PCSOs) were met. An industry source said open market sales by the mills were infrequent, as a bulk of the B-Twill bags were supplied to government procurement agencies. At present the jute industry has the capacity to manufacture 400,000 bales a month.