RAJSHAHI, Oct 11: Jute traders and agents were still reluctant to sell jute to the Rajshahi Jute Mills as the price of jute at the open markets is higher than the price fixed by the BJMC this year.
Due to shortage of raw jute supply, the annual demand of jute at Rajshahi Jute Mills (RJM) is unlikely to be met during the current year, sources said. At the same time, the authorities of RJM might incur a huge loss in purchasing of jute at a higher rate during its operational stages later. It is learnt, RJM had also failed to procure sufficient raw jute required for the operation of the mills last year.
According to market sources, during the onset of the jute harvesting season this year, a 40 kilogram bundle of jute was being sold at taka 780 to 800.
The price being satisfactory, the jute farmers and traders of the region expected a good return of their harvest. But just after 15 days, the BJMC refixed the price of jute at taka 500 to 560 per maund(40 kilogram) based on quality of the material. As a result, the price of raw jute fell drastically in the local markets and thousands of bales of jute started to be smuggled out of the country. The jute farmers as well as jute traders also refused to supply raw jute to the mills at such a low rate fixed by the BJMC.
Local jute traders complained, the price of raw jute being higher at the local markets, they are not being able to purchase jute from the farmers at the price fixed by Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation(BJMC). The farmers were selling jute at a higher price to the smugglers and the hoarders. The jute traders further said, it often takes over two years to get the bills for supplying jute to themills. Moreover, soon after the fixation of the price of raw jute by BJMC, the price of jute started to increase in the local markets. As a result supply of jute to the mills remained suspended, sources said.
In the recent days jute was seen to sell from taka 700 to 760 a maund in various haats of Naohata, Bhawaniganj, Mohanganj, Mohanpur, Kaliganj, Tanore, Amnura and Baneswar. Local jute traders said, the price of jute continued to increase at the local markets. Monsur Rahman, a jute trader of Naohata Bazaar said, due to low price fixed for jute by BJMC, he along with other jute traders of the district are not selling jute to RJM. They further said, after supplying jute to the mills, the traders have often to wait for years for payment of the bill and the bills are not paid without kickbacks. That is why they were reluctant to sell jute to the government owned mills.
They are now more interested in selling jute to the mills owned by private
entrepreneurs. Moreover, many jute traders have been hoarding jute at their stores to earn an windfall profit later on.
Sources of RJM said, the price of raw jute has been refixed in accordance with the demand and local market price of the goods. According to the rescheduled price of jute the price of per 40 kilogram of white C bottom jute is taka 740, white cross bottom is taka 680, white SMR is taka 590, Tosha C bottom is taka 760, Tosha cross bottom is taka 700, Tosha SMR is taka 610, Masta B bottom is taka 740, Masta C bottom is taka 680 and Mast cross bottom is taka 590.
Abdul Haque, deputy general manager of RJM said, annual demand of jute at the mills is 88,000 quintal so far 38 percent of the total demand of raw jute has been met and the purchase of raw jute would continue till next December, he said. He further said, the price of jute is refixed in accordance with the local market price. He further said, last year the mills achieved 85 percent of its target. He further informed that it is not correct that it takes a long time to pay the price of jute to the suppliers. Rather, he informed, presently payment for jute purchase is being cleared on weekly payment basis.