May 21, 2020

Islandwide rice shortage in the offing? Featured

An islandwide rice shortage is in the offing after mill owners have been reluctant to issue stocks at the government-controlled price rate.

On April 10, the government announced a Maximum Retail Price for rice. Accordingly, a maximum price of Samba and Nadu was set at Rs. 90 per kilo. In addition, a kilo of Kekulu was priced at Rs. 85 and Keeri Samba at Rs. 125.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the National Movement for Consumer Rights Protection (NMCP) - Ranjith Withanage had said that it was apparent from the beginning that the MRP was not going to be followed. 

He added that prices of Samba, Kekulu and Nadu were sold around Rs. 20 above the MRP limit declared. 

In this backdrop, many rice traders in Polonnaruwa had stopped selling rice stocks, leading to a shortage of rice throughout the country, he added.

Legal action against hoarders

Meanwhile, the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) says it will take legal action against rice mill owners and traders who sell rice at high prices and hoard stocks.

Chairman of the CAA - Ret. Maj. Gen. Shantha Dissanayake said that they are conducting islandwide raids from yesterday (20) onwards.

The CAA also urges the public to inform the hotline 1977 of any information with regard to such rice traders.

The CAA had sought legal redress against 780 rice traders who had sold rice at higher prices in the recent past.

Noting that there are sufficient rice stocks in the country, the CAA warn that legal action will be taken on any attempts to create an artificial shortage in the market.