The Centre went ahead with jute dilution for two lakh bales or about 15 per cent of total procurement plan that could have a negative impact on employment in the sector. "There was dilution of two lakh bales by the Centre on December 23," Jute Commissioner Subrata Gupta told PTI. The dilution was carried out before the West Bengal government which had sought time till December to provide a detailed feedback on raw jute availability scenario.
The government has already diluted 1.34 lakh bales. The feedback is expected help the Centre decide on the roadmap on further jute dilution. State Labour Minister Malay Ghatak, who was negotiating with the Centre on behalf of the West Bengal government on the jute crisis, could not be reached for his comments on the issue. Already, twelve jute mills are closed and 70,000 jute workers rendered jobless. Raw jute crisis has led to the problem where the government's jute procurement plan for the forthcoming rabi crop season up to March, 2016 is going in favour of plastics as packaging material for food items. Sources said, the state Enforcement Department has raided three jute mills out of 17 mills and is monitoring 48 traders.