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Jute sack standard dilution has hit PDS, storage: FCI

FCI has the responsibility for maintaining a buffer stock for a period of eight to 12 months



Government-owned (FCI) says the industry's standard for sacks (also termed gunny bags) has been insensibly diluted, to its loss and that of grain storage.

FCI, largest consumer of jute, says this has meant problems for the (PDS). Each year, the agency buys 0.8-1 million tonnes of sacking, valued at Rs 6,000 crore, on behalf of itself and state procurement agencies.

In a letter to the government's Commissioner, it has said: "During the last one year, specifications of have been revised two times, diluting bag weight, breaking strength, etc. Thereby, had to face huge difficulties due to bleeding bags, resistance from authorities and wastage of foodgrain. It is understood that there is (yet another) proposal to use higher proportions of TD-6 twills and other lower grade jute in the manufacture of bags.

This could further dilute the quality, making it worse (for storage)."

has the responsibility for maintaining a buffer stock for a period of eight to 12 months, at least.

Dipankar Mahato, deputy jute commissioner, declined to comment.

The jute commissioner's office had in December 2015 introduced lighter weight bags of 580g, replacing the traditional 665g ones. The government started purchase of bags with the revised specification from the of 2016.

Only higher grades of (TD-3,4 & 5 varieties) are suitable for manufacturing the lightweight bags. The bulk of is the low-grade variety (TD-6/7 and below). This has apparently created a demand-supply imbalance, with 2.8 million bales of low-grade jute in the surplus and a million bales of high grade in deficit.

And, due to lower use of inferior grades, the price of is now Rs 22,000 a tonne; the government's Minimum Support Price is officially Rs 35,000 a tonne.

First Published: Wed, December 20 2017. 21:42 IST