ground to Plastic
November 22, 2006
Plastic has finally won over jute in the legal battle for the dilution
of compulsory use of jute packing reservation norms. The Gujrat High Court
has recently ordered dilution of jute packing reservation norms by 25% to
75% for foodgrain and by 30% to 70% for sugar while disposing the petition
of Indian Flat Tape Manufacturing Association (AFTMA).
The norms ordered by the court in the line with the recommendation
made by the standing advisory committee (SAC) before the expiry of previous
norms of 100% for both foodgrain and sugar.
In fact, IFTMA has obtained an ex-parte interim order from the same
court in September this year making Union ministry of textile party to the
case. However, the ministry for some reason or the other, preferred not to
contest by filling the affidavit-in-reply at the time. However the Indian
Jute Mills Association (Ijma) on behalf of of the jute industry was ready to
join but the court rejected its request.
It is understood before issuing the order, the regional high court
called for full noting of the filing, subsequent to SAC's recommendation
from the ministry of textiles, which joined later along with ijma.
The court observed the ministry had not furnished proper
justification for overruling SACs recommendation and, it inclined to set
aside the ministry's notification issued on July 27 granting compulsory jute
reservation norms at 100% for both foodgrain and sugar.
The court further stated the ministry did not forward its note for
the restoration of jute reservation norms to the Cabinet Committee for
Economic Affairs (CCEA) for its final approval before issuing its final
notification, as it was customary. The court straightaway ordered that SACs
recommendation should be adhered to for implementation.
All these suggest that the ministry for textiles has not done
its homework before joining as a party to the case on jute
reservation norms dilution, being heard before the Gujarat High Court.
First, the ministry allowed the IFTMA for a walkover without providing
supporting documents for the official gazette notification on restoring
status quo ante for jute norms. The ministry also failed to justify its
notification in deviating from SAC recommended revised jute reservation
The domestic jute sector including industry, traders, raw jute
growers, mill workers and trade unions operating in the sector are also sore
at the role played by the West Bengal government in protecting interests of
millions of jute growers and 2.5 lakh mill workers.
About one crore people are engaged directly or indirectly for
their livelihood in the traditional and age-old industry and trade. Interestingly
the state administration remained a mere onlooker to the dilution without
taking it up with the Union government seriously on behalf of the jute
sector. Admittedly, the state is a major jute grwowing and finished goods
processing / manufacturing centres. In fact, no less than 63 out of 76 jute
mills in the country are located in the state which grows almost 90% of the
country's total jute crop of over 10 million bales.
Source: The Economic Times