Kolkata: The jute industry is set to witness a dilution of compulsory packaging of foodgrains in jute bags as production of sacks came to a halt due to the ongoing nationwide lockdown imposed to contain the coronavirus outbreak, an official said on Monday. Also Read - Bihar: Fire Breaks Out in Jute Godown in Katihar, Fire-fighting Operations Underway

The millers have sought exemption from the Centre to operate during the lockdown, saying shortage of jute bags could lead to disruption of foodgrains supply. Also Read - Tripartite meeting fails to end Bengal's jute sector impasse

A recent office memorandum of the Union textiles ministry said, “Since jute mills remain closed during 21 days lockdown period, dilution of 1.8 lakh bales is granted.” Also Read - WB govt calls for tripartite meet to resolve jute industry impasse

The industry “will face dilution” if the mills are not allowed to operate during the lockdown period, an official of a jute mill in West Bengal said.

He said relaxation for use of plastic bags for food grains packaging will affect the sector and jute farmers.

The Centre has said that it will consider the jute millers’ plea to resume their operations during the lockdown period, the official said.

“In case, the jute mills are allowed to run before the stipulated 21 days lockdown period, the dilution will be reviewed…” the ministry’s office memorandum said.

Meanwhile, the Indian Jute Mills’ Association has also requested the jute commissioner to expedite release of payments to the millers.