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Rice rots as ‘bribe’ stalls lift from mill

A rice mill owner claims huge quantities of rice and paddy are rotting on his premises, as state food corporation (SFC) officials allegedly want a bribe to lift the same.

About 32,000 quintals of paddy and 10,000 quintals of rice are rotting at Mithila rice mills in Donar industrial area of the town, owner Sanjay Jha claimed. He said: “SFC officials have demanded Rs 8,000 per lot (540 bags, each containing a quintal of rice). Since I expressed inability to pay the same, they did not lift the rice.” With the officials refusing to cart away the processed rice, the mill is unable to process more paddy.

Jha said: “The chairman of primary agricultural credit society (PACS) purchases brown rice (whole grain rice) from farmers, on behalf of the government. This is then sent to the rice mills. Mill owners process this brown rice and prepare rice. SFC officials ensure it is then carted away from the mill. Since SFC officials did not lift the prepared rice, we were unable to process the remaining bags of paddy. No rice has been carted away from my mill in the past four months.”

Jha had to mortgage land worth Rs 86 lakh to the state government and pay Rs 5 lakh as security money before he was allowed to set up the mill.

Manager of SFC in Darbhanga, Azad Shahabuddin, said: “We are not apprised of why the bags are not lifted from Mithila rice mill. We have to probe the matter and it would be difficult to comment before the matter comes before us. We would get the matter investigated soon. The charges of bribe against our officials are baseless as he has not consulted me yet on this matter.”