Rice processors and exporters in the National Capital Region (NCR) have asked the government to re-consider its decision of restricting their operation to eight hours on weekdays while keeping a weekend shut-down. The decision, likely to affect 440 rice processing units in NCR, will result in delay in meeting export commitments and also slow down purchases of crops from farmers.
The Commission for Air Quality Management in the NCR and adjoining areas under Union Environment Ministry on December 2 issued an order that said industrial operations and processes in NCR, not running on PNG or cleaner fuels, shall be allowed to operate only up to eight hours a day from Monday to Friday and shall not be allowed to operate on Saturdays and Sundays.
Worsening air quality
The direction, effective till next order, has come after the air quality in the last few days has deteriorated and at the upper end of “Very Poor” or in “Severe” category. The Commission felt there was an emergent need to take additional preventive measures as a matter of extreme emergency to stop the air quality getting further deteriorated. There were several directions including ban on construction activities issued during last week of November.
“This decision needs to be reviewed and taken back immediately. All industries cannot be equated on a blanket order and there has to be a proper assessment and experts consultation,” said Vijay Setia, former President of All India Rice Exporters Association. Export commitments of rice industry will miss the target and even buyers may penalize Indian suppliers, Setia said.
Millers in Haryana are likely to take up the matter with Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Saturday, sources said.
“Rice parboiling is a continuous process and one cannot change it or complete in eight hours as the order states. This will spoil entire food stuff as the three steps of boiling-soaking, steaming and drying take around 20 hours for one batch of production,” Setia said.
Some 20-25 sugar mills in the NCR region will also get affected as the crushing season is currently on and farmers have been informed about when to harvest and accordingly, cane supply has been scheduled, industry sources said.
Source: The Hindu Business
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