The pilot project of the national-level distribution of 5kg rice packets will be launched in Kerala, Union Minister of State for Food and Public Distribution K V Thomas said here on Saturday. The pilot project will be carried out as part of checking irregularities and increasing product quality.
The project aims at replacing the existing practice of transporting foodgrain in 50 kg bags. The new system is formulated in accordance with the provisions of the Food Security Act, Thomas said while presiding over the inaugural function of the 5,000-tonne-capacity FCI godown here.
The process of packing the foodgrain in five kg packets will begin at Punjab and Andhra Pradesh, he said. He said that the Centre will also include sugar under the project which will benefit 82 crore persons belonging to APL catagory.
The minister said that the ration dealers commission will be increased soon. He added that the Centre will also support the State Government in setting up smaller intermediary godowns close to ration shops to prevent irregularities. “The godowns with a capacity 100 to 500 tonnes of grain can be set up with the support of panchayats, Kudumbashree and those employed under MGNREGS,” Thomas said. He said that the implementation of the act will help Kerala to save about `600 crore annually.
Thomas praised FCI chairman and managing director C Vishwanath for playing a key role in drafting the Food Security Act.
New Godown Opened
A new 5,000-tonne godown of the Food Corporation of India was inaugurated by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy near Thodupuzha on Saturday three months ahead of the schedule, increasing the total capacity to 10,000. This is in addition to the existing 5,000-tonne godown already operating here.
Inaugurating the godown through a recorded video message from Thiruvananthapuram, Chandy said that the venture is a part of the UPA government’s project to increase the storage facilities of the FCI in the state.
The centre is giving sufficient support to the state and the UDF Government has the responsibility to set up the godowns with the support of the Nabard across the state. Union Minister of State of Consumer Affairs and PDS K V Thomas inaugurated the new godown on behalf of the Chief Minister. Thomas, in his presidential address, announced `40 lakh for improving the facilities in the godown including parking facility and roads.
Thomas also announced support of `25 lakh to P T Thomas MP as a complement for completing the work of the godown before the scheduled time. Thomas directed FCI Chairman C Vishwanath to analyse the shortage in the FCI in Kerala and take corrective steps.
Thomas said that the amount would be used for the development of two government and two aided schools in Arakulam. State PDS minister Anoop Jacob also spoke on the occasion.