Chandigarh: Millers from Punjab and Haryana are lobbying with MPs to redress their problem of higher price for wheat under the Centre's open market sale scheme in the two states compared to that in other states.

Unhappy flour-mill owners claimed that because of increase in wheat rates under Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS) for Punjab and Haryana, their mills would not be able to compete with other states like Delhi, UT Chandigarh, Jammu where wheat prices would be much lower.

"We are requesting the MPs to help us in this difficult situation caused by different wheat rates for different states and it is threatening to wipe out our flour mill business if corrective steps are not taken," Punjab Roller Flour Mill Association President Naresh Ghai said.

Camping in Delhi, Punjab Flour mill owners have apprised Congress MP from Jalandhar Mohinder Singh Kaypee and Minister of State for External Affairs and MP from Patiala Preneet Kaur of their plight.

"They understood our problems and assured us to extend their help," Ghai said, adding that they were also trying to meet other MPs including those from Shiromani Akali Dal.

Flour mill owners from Haryana are also trying to meet Union Minister and Congress MP from Ambala Selja and Kurukshetra MP Naveen Jindal with regard to their problems.

The Centre has now decided to charge various types of levies including market fee, rural development fund, arthiya’s commission while releasing wheat under OMSS in Punjab and Haryana for September and October.

As a result of it, bulk buyers will have to pay over Rs 1,500 per quintal in Punjab and Haryana in comparison to wheat rates ranging between Rs 1,300-1,400 per quintal in Delhi, UT Chandigarh, Rajasthan and some other states, Ghai said.

Flour mills have already met Union Food Minister K V Thomas in this regard but to no avail.

"Because of huge variation in wheat prices in different states, our wheat products will be costlier by Rs 2-3 per kg and cheap products from neighbouring states will flood here and capture our entire market," claimed Ghai.

"It seems it (high rates) is a conspiracy to kill business (flour mills) in wheat producing states," Haryana Flour Mills Association, President, C P Gupta alleged.

Gupta claimed if millers buy wheat at new rates amid severe shortage, the cost of wheat flour will reach Rs25 a kg.

The Centre has allocated 54,000 tonne and 25,000 tonne of wheat under OMSS for Punjab and Haryana for the period September-October. The Union Food Ministry last time (July September) charged Rs 1,285 per quintal plus VAT from bulk buyers.

(Agencies)

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