Paddy worth crores is rotting here as it has been lying in open due to shortage of godowns even as the rice millers have not lifted it following a dispute over transportation charges with the Tribal Development Corporation and FCI, official sources said.
TDC has around 2.2 lakh quintals of paddy worth about Rs 200 crores lying in open at Gondia and Bhandara districts which is rotting due to the onset of monsoon season.
Also, 3 lakh quintals of paddy is lying in Gadchiroli and Aheri region, sources said.
The millers at Gondia, Bhandara, Gadchiroli and Chandrapur districts are reluctant to lift the paddy while demanding a hike in CMR (Custom Milling Rice) rates and pending transportation payment.
Rice Millers Association, Gondia, secretary Ashok C Agrawal said that their transportation payment of around Rs 70 crores was pending with the agencies and the government since 2009.
He said that in neighbouring Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, the difference of amount for transportation was borne by the respective state governments and the millers get their money from the government.
Also, around 60 rice millers and Rice Millers Association, Gondia, have filed a petition in the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court regarding release of pending payments and its first hearing is on June 17.
The paddy lying with the agencies is not even suitable for cattle feed, sources said.
When contacted, TDC regional manager J S Rathore admitted that at many places the procured paddy was lying in open as they do not have sufficient godowns.
"Though we have covered the paddy with tarpaulins and tied it, but because of strong breeze and water we are unable to protect it completely. We have apprised about the same to our higher ups at the headquarters and sent a proposal for the construction of 40 odd additional godowns," Rathore said.
On the pending transportation payment, he said, "We have some differences with the millers over the issue and are trying to put things in the right place."