The Calcutta High Court has asked the jute balers to declare their raw jute stock within seven days from December 14, failing which the Jute Commissioner’s (JC) office will be allowed to continue search and seizure to control price rigging.
Raw jute prices, in the open market, touched Rs 6,025 per quintal against a minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 4,425 per quintal. This affected in a price increase by Rs 53 per jute bag thereby also increasing the Centre’s subsidy burden. On November 6, the office of the jute commissioner had issued an order for traders to bring down raw jute stock to up to 500 quintals and also started a search and seized 7,500 quintals of raw jute from various godowns.
The Jute Balers Association challenging the JC’s order filed a writ petition at the Calcutta High Court, against which the High Court passed an order directing the jute balers to comply with the JC’s November 6 order. But the jute balers could apply within seven days of the HC’s order seeking time extension for complying with the November 6 order.
The High Court said that the application to the Jute Commissioner “shall contain the name of each of its (The Jute Balers Association) members and the quantum of raw jute stock held by each of the members.”
“In the event, the application is not made by the petitioner (The Jute Balers Association) within the aforesaid seven days, the Jute Commissioner shall be at liberty to proceed by law against the members of the association, including coercive measure,” the order said.
Four jute mills have already closed down for high prices and supply constraint of raw jute. If prices don’t come down, there are possibilities of more jute mills closing down,” he said. Prices of TD (Tossa Daisee) grade raw jute is at Rs 6,000 per quintal.