Head of the Araliya Rice Company, Dudley Sirisena, yesterday (27) said that the main reason for the increase in the price of rice is because Minister of Rural Economic Affairs P. Harrison is not releasing the stocks of paddy, in the possession of the government, in a proper manner.
Sirisena said that the price of rice has increased considerably due to an incorrect method that is being followed in order to earn profit privately and the person responsible for this situation is the Minister in charge of the subject.
Expressing his views further, at a media briefing held in Colombo yesterday, with the participation of large scale rice mill owners Sirisena said that the President and the Prime Minister had decided to issue stocks of paddy held by the Paddy Marketing Board, to the open market. However, the minister in charge of the subject did not release the stocks of paddy, belonging to the government, following a proper tender procedure.
“Nadu paddy, of which there is a shortage in the country, was not issued to us. I was not given even one seed of Nadu paddy. Rice Mill owners have in their possession stocks of Keeri Samba and Samba sufficient up to April 2017. However, several large scale rice businessmen are making accusations regarding the increase in the price of rice. It is not justified.”
He added that the Paddy Marketing Board purchases a kilo of paddy at Rs 43.65. That is sold to Rice Mill owners at Rs 50. Then, apart from the other costs of producing a kilo of paddy, a sum of Rs 80 has been spent on paddy only.
Sirisena added that, if the stocks of paddy in the possession of the government had been issued to rice mill owners, to be converted into rice, under a proper system, such problems would not have arisen.