HYDERABAD: THE Industries Department has convinced two jute millers from West Bengal to set up their factories in Telangana in order to meet the sudden shortage of gunny bags faced by rice millers here. According to an official of the department, the State government offered the jute millers land at a discounted rate and assured them of procuring the gunny bags at 100 per cent rate.

 

“This is a step towards making the State self-sufficient,” the official said. The move comes after Telangana recorded a bumper paddy produce, resulting in huge demand for rice millers. Rice milling units need large quantities of gunny bags, which are made of jute, for packaging. One of the most vital items during the milling season, gunny bags are sourced from West Bengal and Bangladesh as jute primarily grows in these regions. But the supply to Telangana was cut off due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

“The Telangana government invested a lot in irrigation, which resulted in a bumper paddy produce. But our milling capacity was not sufficient due to the shortage of gunny bags. The distribution of rice depends on gunny bags,” the official said. Nearly 90-95 per cent of the jute mills are in West Bengal and other eastern States. Most of these shut down due to the lockdown, hitting operations here in Telangana.

 

As a stop-gap arrangement, the rice millers tried to use other types of sacks but these were not feasible. “We found two major jute mills in West Bengal and motivated them to set up units in TS,” the official said.