(UDHAYAM, COLOMBO) – CAA should take legal action against errant millers who hoard paddy stocks. CAA should also raid sellers who sell imported rice claiming to be locally produced, was the consensus that emerged at the Cost of Living Committee discussions of May 25.
Accordingly, Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen has instructed CAA to report on the stock levels of millers as well as details of distribution of imported rice stocks in the local market. Minister Bathiudeen also informed the Committee that to stabilize prices in the market, the CAA has increased raids and filed cases against almost 2000 errant traders in 2017 while in May 2017 alone nearly 500 such raids were conducted.
In March 2017, CAA informed (in writing) 99 rice importers to provide details of their imports and Minister Bathiudeen has instructed CAA to take legal action against any importers who failed to provide such details to date.
Minister Bathiudeen also instructed CAA to inspect mills and warehouses for mixing of any imported and local rices and look for sellers who sell such rice. CAA is also instructed to raid sellers who sell given rice types above MRPs.
A sole trader found guilty by the Magistrate courts is fined between Rs 1000 to Rs 10000 or given a prison term not exceeding six months (or both) as per CAA Act 9 of 2003. If the offender is a private company then the fine is between Rs 10000 to 100,000.