The Union textiles ministry has urged the West Bengal Government to ensure that atleast 90% of paddy or rice should be packed in jute sacking bags as most of the state rice mills are not following the mandatory norms for packaging of rice/paddy in jute bags.

The ministry said that directorate general of supplies & disposal (DGS&D) could be procuring agent for jute bags at prices decided by the administration. Same practice is being followed in other states also.

If the jute packaging norm is being followed in the state then the ministry has estimated that this will create an additional demand of 300,000 B Twill jute bags annually.

Monika S Garg, joint secretary, Union textiles ministry wrote to West Bengal chief secretary Sanjay Mitra that West Bengal annual production is about 15 million tonne of paddy/rice. Under Jute Packaging Materials Act, 1987 atleast 90% of paddy or rice should be packed in jute sacking bags but it has come under notification that most of the state rice mills are not following this norm

Apart from rice/paddy, the ministry has urged the state to use jute bags for potatoes packaging and Jute geo-textiles in the construction work of Pradhan Mantri Grameen Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) and in river bank protection works in West Bengal.

The National Jute Board may provide technical guidance to apply these fabrics. West Bengal annual potatoes production is at 10 million tonne which are packed in synthetic bags and stored in the cold strorage until they are consumed. If the state mandates the use of jute packaging bags for potatoes packaging, it could generate an additional demand for about 50,000 tonne of hessian bags in a year.

Referring to jute geo-textiles, the ministry said the jute industry in collaboration with the R&D (research and development) institutions, has developed several varieties of jute geo-textiles for different applications, also quoted in the letter.

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