As jute mills continue to down shutters in West Bengal owing to unavailability of raw materials at the price fixed by the government, the Jute Commissioner came under fire at a meeting chaired by state Labour Minister Becharam manna in presence of representatives of trade unions and mills on Thursday, sources said.
The state government blamed the Jute Commissioner for not doing enough to resolve the crisis in the mills that has caused a job loss for 60,000 workers.
Irrespective of party line, almost all trade unions and the government blamed the Jute Commissioner for the situation," a source who was present at the meeting said.
The state government would write to the Centre on the issue, the source said.
Calls to Jute Commissioner Moloy Chakraborty for his comments went unanswered.
On Thursday, Reliance Jute Mill and Calcutta Jute Mill announced suspension of work for unavailability of raw jute at the government rate of Rs 6500 per quintal while the prevailing market price is Rs 7300 per quintal.
Eluru Jute Mills said its two units in Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh had suspended production due to the same reason.
The Jute Commissioner has imposed a price cap of Rs 6500 per quintal on raw jute and a stock limit of a maximum of 45 days.
Indian Jute Mills Association (IJMA) said the quantity of raw jute confiscated in raids till now is a mere 803 tonne which is good for production for only six hours by all the mills.
According to INTTUC leader Ganesh Sarkar, the Jute Commissioner said it will ask Jute Corporation of India (JCI) to be more proactive to ensure raw jute supply to the mills.
Had JCI been proactive in early procurement when the crop was harvested, it would have been fruitful, the trade union leader claimed.
The IJMA has initiated legal steps against the government for a resolution to the raw jute crisis which leads to financial losses for the millers and supply commitment failure.
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