Chandigarh, Apr 9 (PTI) An inquiry into missing paddy from the premises of a rice mill in Amritsar has pegged the total loss at Rs 33.60 crore, a senior official of the Punjab’s Food and Civil Supplies Department said today.

He said the department was looking at legal options to minimise the loss as all properties of the rice miller was found to be completely pledged with the banks.

“We have done an assessment of the loss which we have pegged at Rs 33.60 crore,” the official said.

The department found a total of 420 wagons of Parmal variety of paddy missing from the premises of the Amritsar-based rice mill.

The department had initiated an inquiry after it found a huge quantity of paddy missing from a mill in Amritsar while its owner was absconding.

“An FIR has been registered against the owner of the mill,” the official said.

During the physical verification, the department found paddy worth Rs 11 to 12 crore lying in the mill. “We are looking at options for its disposal,” official said.

Over 14 lakh bags of paddy stock for the Kharif marketing season 2017-18 was allotted to the rice miller for converting into rice.

The concern of the department was to minimise its losses as it appeared that all properties of the rice mill were pledged with the banks.

“It seems all the properties of the mills are completely pledged with the banks. We are trying to find out legal options by virtue of which we can recover our losses to whatever extent,” official said.

The absconding owner of the mill had reportedly borrowed Rs 200 crore from banks, including Rs 125 crore from the Punjab National Bank.

The department conducted physical verification of stock at 200 rice mills that had delivered lesser quantity of rice to the Food Corporation of India (FCI).

However, no significant shortage was found, the official added.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.