Centre asks states to lift foodgrains to ease storage problem

Centre asks states to lift foodgrains to ease storage problem

Food and Consumer Affairs Minister K V Thomas said the current storage capacity with both Centre and States stands at 62.36 million tonnes, while the stocks are at an all-time-high of 65.4 million tonnes.

"It can be seen that the situation (storage) is a cause of concern. We are constantly reviewing the stock position," Thomas told media on the storage problem being faced by the government.

The media briefing was held amid concerns that foodgrains stored in covered and plinth (CAP) could be damaged in the ongoing monsoon, which will continue till September.

The government has allocated 20 million tonnes of extra foodgrains to states since May 2010 in six trances for supply through ration shops and has taken steps to augment the storage capacity, Thomas said.

States have, however, lifted only about half the previous 10 million tonnes allocated to them.

Thomas noted, "Timely lifting of these additional allocations by the states will help storage space in consumption states and allow more movement (of foodgrains) to these states from surplus states."

He also mentioned that the Food Corporation of India (FCI) has approved for creation of 15.3 million tonnes of storage capacity via public private partnership (PPP).

"It is expected that 4 million tonnes of capacity will be created by March 2012," Thomas said, assuring that this additional storage capacity is expected to resolve the storage problems to a large extent.

"Storage capacity will not be a constraint in procurement operation from the next rabi marketing season," he added.

The minister also noted that allocation of another 5 million tonnes of foodgrains, as directed by the Supreme Court, to 150 poor villages will ease burden on storage.

"We are waiting for the list of villages from the Supreme Court for supply of 5 million tonnes," he said.

The minister also said that the government is taking measures to reduce the storage and transportation losses by computerisation of godowns and initiating e-payments.

The country is set to harvest a record 235.88 million tonnes of foodgrains in 2010-11 crop year (July-June) on the back of good monsoon.

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