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Jute yields  ground to Plastic                                       



Jute yields  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 norms. 
  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


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