Plastic rice, costlier to make than fine rice, say traders

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Plastic rice

Hyderabad: Traders of plastic in the city say that the cost of plastic is more than that of grade-I fine rice and the processing of rice grains from plastic would be very expensive so making ‘plastic rice’ is financially unviable.

Sanjay Jain, a plastic trader from the city, said that for producing the white crystals, pure polymer raw plastic was needed.

“The price of polymer increased in 2013 and now it is available at between Rs 95 and Rs 105 per kilo. The plastic waste from PET bottles is available at Rs 25 per kilo and PET bottle flakes at Rs 50 per kilo. Plastic manufacturers are utilising such plastic waste after recycling it into small grains. The recycling process will increase the cost of waste plastic to Rs 60 per kilo,” he said.

He said that manufacturing one kilo of small crystals to look like rice grains would cost Rs 75.  “Why would China take the trouble to manufacture plastic rice when grade-I fine rice is available at Rs 50 per kg in our markets. There is no possibility of manufacturing rice with plastic,” said Sanjay.

A rice trader from Malakpet market said that the plastic rice rumours are affecting business. “Earlier, customers were demanding fine rice. Now, they are insisting on pure rice,” he said.

Recent cases
Although, the issue of ‘plastic rice’ came to light in India in 2012, the first such allegation was made in Hyderabad in 2015.

  • Four days ago, Meerpet police received a complaint that a rice trader was selling plastic rice.
  • Residents of a private hostel alleged that they were being served food made with plastic rice and that 27 of them had been admitted to hospital with food poisoning. They lodged a complaint with the S R Nagar police but when the police arrived at the hostel, they found that no one had been admitted to hospital
  • Last week, a journalist was attacked by a member of the staff of a hotel in Saroornagar for asking whether the biryani purchased from the hotel was made with plastic rice.
  • Last week, South Zone police seized some rice from a trader in Meerchowk who was alleged to be selling plastic rice but lab tests revealed that the samples had no plastic elements.
  • On Wednesday, Suryapet counselor of the 18th ward Mr Gunduri Ramesh lodged a complaint with the concern department’s officials on plastic rice as a family fell sick after purchasing rice from a local rice miller.
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