‘Paper Industry in crisis as waste paper prices double’

New Delhi, Mar 5 (FN Bureau) Recycled fibre (waste paper) based paper mills in the country, which account for 65-70 per cent of paper and paperboard production in the country, are beset with an ”unprecedented crisis” as the prices of waste paper, the key raw material have become doubled over the last six months, Indian Agro & Recycled Paper Mills Association (IARPMA) said on Friday. ”In a communication to the Ministry of Commerce, IARPMA has stated that waste paper based paper mills account for nearly 17 million tonnes of the total 25 million tonnes of paper produced annually in the country.

Any slippage in production due to spiraling waste paper prices will impact the writing, printing, newsprint & packaging industry,” the IARPMA said in a statement. Moreover, there is an acute scarcity of waste paper which has been artificially created by certain vested interests, IRAPMA has alleged. ”From a pre-covid price range of Rs 10-13 per kg, the waste paper prices have currently surged to Rs 22-24 per kg impacting the industry adversely. Kraft waste paper prices have also attained the level of Rs.22 per kg which was Rs 10 during the pre-covid period,” the statement said. IARPMA has attributed the unexpected increase in waste paper prices to unfair practices of hoarding and cartelization by the waste paper suppliers. ”Certain waste paper suppliers are controlling the price and availability of waste paper and as a result there is no option for the Paper mills, but to cut their paper production as per the raw material availability and stock inventory,” Mr Pramod Agarwal, President IARPMA said.

Paper mills are not in a position to absorb the price hike of Rs 10 per kg in their raw material and the finished newsprint and other grades of paper prices are feared to go up substantially. At the same time, the paper mills are not in a position to shut down their operations as the mills need to pay interest, salary, and other expenses at any cost. ”While the market price for collection of waste paper from households continues to range between Rs 10 to Rs 13 per kg, the waste paper suppliers have escalated the prices for supplies to paper mills through illegal hoarding,” Mr Agarwal added. IARPMA has urged the government to intervene and crack down on illegal hoarding by conducting raids in the godowns and waste paper stocking centres. IARPMA has also offered to make available a list of the waste paper hoarders to the Government. ”The malpractice by unscrupulous suppliers who are creating artificial scarcity of waste paper in the country must be put to an end so as to ease the undue pressure on the paper manufacturers and paper users,” Mr Agarwal added.