Uttam urges rice milling industry to adopt latest technologies and machinery

Hyderabad: Civil Supplies and Irrigation Minister Capt N Uttam Kumar Reddy urged the rice milling industry to adopt the latest technology and machinery to become the country’s number one rice milling industry.

Inaugurating the 16th International Rice and Grains Tech Expo 2024 at Hitex Exhibition Centre on Friday, Uttam Kumar Reddy assured full support to the rice millers to turn Telangana into the number one State in rice milling and production of quality rice. He outlined the government’s strategy to promote the rice milling industry, focusing on technology upgrades for better energy efficiency and higher-quality rice production.

The Civil Supplies Minister emphasised his deep connection with the rice milling community, having represented Kodad and Huzurnagar as MLA six times and as an MP from Nalgonda once. “Your problems are known to me,” he said, pledging his commitment to address them. He recognised rice milling as a major industry in rural Telangana, employing 2-3 lakh skilled and unskilled workers, and promised the government’s encouragement and transparency in resolving their issues.

He highlighted the significance of this expo in helping rice mills adopt advanced technology. “The quality of rice produced can be significantly improved with better technology and less energy consumption,” he noted.

Recalling his long association with key rice milling centres like Huzurnagar, Kodad, Miryalaguda, and Suryapet, he reaffirmed his duty as a public representative and minister to support these areas. He assured that issues such as milling charges and transport charges would be handled proactively to ensure justice for all stakeholders.

Addressing the allocation of Custom Milled Rice (CMR) and paddy, he urged adherence to government-prescribed systems. He assured support to the millers in securing export permissions from the Central Government for rice varieties produced in Telangana. He also highlighted the government’s dual role in benefiting farmers and millers while ensuring consumers receive rice at reasonable prices.

He said Telangana has the second-highest share in paddy procurement. It has contributed a whopping 141 lakh tonnes of paddy for procurement. Telangana will likely retain its title as the ‘Rice Bowl of India’ with an unprecedented production of about 1.7 crore tonnes during the ensuing Vaanakalam. Telangana is estimated to witness a quantum jump of nearly 22 lakh tonnes from 1.48 crore tonnes during the last Vaanakalam. Telangana is already number one in the rice milling capacity.

Uttam Kumar Reddy said that the Telangana Government was dedicated to supporting the rice milling industry, making it profitable and beneficial for the economy, farmers, and consumers. “We should work as partners in progress,” he said.

However, he warned rice millers against violating rules and diverting Public Distribution System (PDS) rice. He said some millers resort to polishing and recycling PDS rice for export at higher prices. He announced the government’s initiative to start distributing fine rice through the PDS, emphasising the importance of consuming PDS rice for public health. “We procure rice at Rs 40 per kg and provide it to the poor for free; this rice should not be diverted,” he warned.

He acknowledged that while 90-95% of rice millers comply with regulations, a few still violate them. He said that the intention of the Congress Government in Telangana is to ensure 100% consumption of PDS rice.

Uttam Kumar Reddy reiterated the importance of compliance with rules and guidelines, stressing that no one is above the law. “It is crucial for the industry’s and government’s well-being that everyone follows the regulations,” he stated, ensuring that violators would not be spared.He urged the industry to report issues through their associations, promising government support to make Telangana number one in paddy production and rice milling capacity. (INN)

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