In an attempt to counter rising rice prices, the Government has decided make necessary stocks of rice available to the public at a controlled price during the upcoming festive season.
Therefore, authorities will convert paddy stocks in storage to rice, and issue it to the public via Lanka Sathosa at a maximum controlled price ahead of December.
In a meeting held between District Secretaries and Finance Ministry Secretary S.R. Attygalle ahead of his visit to India, a decision was reached to utilise paddy stocks purchased by the districts during the last Yala Season and process it with the assistance of selected private mills. Once converted to rice, the rice stocks are to be distributed to and sold through Lanka Sathosa outlets under a maximum controlled price. Under the arrangement, Lanka Sathosa will provide funds to District Secretariats for the rice.
The move comes in the wake of industry concerns that small and medium rice mills are being ignored, allowing powerful large scale mill owners to corner the market and artificially drive up prices.
Cabinet co-spokesman Bandula Gunawardana told reporters on Wednesday that the Government would take measures to reduce rice prices ahead of Christmas and New Year celebrations. Over the last few weeks rice prices have increased by Rs. 10 and reports have indicated that dozens of small mill owners have gone out of business.