Chandigarh: Protesting the fixation of "high" price for wheat under OMSS, Punjab's bulk buyers including flour mill owners today stayed away from participating in the bidding process for wheat purchase.

As a result of it, Food Corporation of India (FCI) received just two bids for the sale of 48,922.24 metric tonne of wheat under Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS).

"Two bids for 600 tonne have been received for the tenders floated for wheat under OMSS," official sources said here.

"The bids for the remaining quantity will now be called next week," they said.

"Not a single member of our association has participated in the bidding process of wheat and it has been done in protest against the high price fixed by the Centre for release of wheat under OMSS," Punjab Roller Flour Mill Association President Naresh Ghai said on Monday.
FCI floated bids on September 7 for the sale of wheat out of allocated quota of 54,000 tonne and the reserve price was kept at Rs 1,483.16 per quintal excluding 5 per cent value added tax (VAT) applicable on the same.

Agitating flour mill owners are vociferously protesting the "high" wheat price fixed by the Centre under OMSS. They said their mills would not be able to compete with other states like Delhi, Jammu where wheat prices would be much lower.

"There will be a wide disparity in the rates of wheat-based products produced by them as compared to items produced in Delhi, Rajasthan or Jammu," he said.

Millers claimed that they would have to shell out over Rs 1,575 per quintal including cartage for wheat as against wheat rates ranging between Rs 1,300 and Rs 1,400 a quintal in Delhi, Jammu and other states.

"We will have to shut down our mills if the prices are not brought down for Punjab," he said.

Prices in Punjab for wheat has gone up under OMSS as Centre fixed rate after including 9.5 percent of state taxes like market fee, rural development fund, infrastructure and 2.5 Arthiya's commission.

Describing the charging of states levies as discrimination with wheat producing states, flour millers had lobbied hard with the Centre to reduce wheat prices but to no avail.



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