CHANDIGARH: More than 100 LMT of wheat, out of 280 LMT of foodgrain stocked in Punjab, are currently stored out in the open. Unseasonal rains laid waste to a certain quantity resulting in the purchase of wheat under relaxed specifications (URS).
Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh has sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s urgent intervention for permission to construct 20 LMT capacity covered godowns in the state for scientific storage of foodgrains to address the acute shortage of covered storage space.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, Amarinder has urged him to direct the Union Ministry of Food to allow construction of 20 LMT capacity covered godowns, under seven year guarantee by central government so that foodgrains may be scientifically stored in the State.
The Chief Minister pointed out that bumper crops during the last few seasons, coupled with slow pace of evacuation of foodgrains from the state, had resulted in acute shortage of covered storage space.
Though FCI had approved the construction of additional silo capacity of 21 LMT with railway sidings in the state, construction of the same may take four to five years or even more, Amarider noted. As a result, lack of adequate storage space would force State Procuring Agencies to store wheat in unscientific locations in the coming seasons and further lead to damage of wheat stocks, he said, terming this a national loss.
The Punjab Government had requested the Union Ministry of Food but formal approval from the Ministry was still awaited, he said, adding that it normally takes about ten months for a scientific godown to be constructed and only ten months are now left for the start of the next Rabi season.