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IJMA moves Calcutta HC on dilution of Jute Packaging order

Our Bureau

Kolkata , May 3

THE Indian Jute Mills Association (IJMA) has moved the Calcutta High Court against the recent Union Government's decision to reduce the mandatory packaging order for foodgrains and sugar.

According to Mr Sanjay Kajaria, President of IJMA, a writ petition was filed on April 29 and the matter is likely to come up for hearing within the next few days.

"We will wait for the Calcutta High Court's decision and thereafter we will decide on our future course of action. We are willing to fight it out till the end. We may even move the Supreme Court if needed," Mr Kajaria told Business Line.

Last month, the Union Ministry of Textiles reduced the mandatory jute packaging order for foodgrains to 60 per cent from 100 per cent and for sugar to 50 per cent from 90 per cent.

Meanwhile, Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, West Bengal Chief Minister, has urged the Prime Minister to review the recent decision of the Union Government.

According to the Chief Minister, the Indian jute industry "cannot survive without the mandatory packaging order in its favour".

The Union Ministry of Textiles first reduced the mandatory packaging reservations in July 2002. The IJMA challenged the order at the Calcutta High Court and got an order in its favour. The Union Government moved the Supreme Court against the High Court verdict.

After the initial hearings, the apex court granted "status-quo" and asked the Union Government to continue with the earlier packaging norms.

Though the matter is still being heard by the Supreme Court, the status quo was recently vacated.

Subsequently, the Union Ministry of Textiles issued the diluted packaging order but also clarified that they were "subject to the final decision" on their special leave petition pending before the apex court.

The IJMA questioned the role of the Textile Ministry and asked what forced it to take such an important decision in such "haste".

Currently, the procurement of jute bags for packing the rabi crop is almost over. So, too is the sugar season.

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