BHUBANESWAR: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday said that there was an urgent need to augment the storage capacity in the State to ensure uninterrupted implementation of public distribution system (PDS) and other development programmes. The Chief Minister on Tuesday met the Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution KV Thomas in Delhi. He said during the meeting that the combined storage capacity of the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and the Odisha State Civil Supplies Corporation (OSCSC) is grossly inadequate to store 25 to 30 lakh tonne paddy procured annually.
Even the existing limited capacity of FCI does not get fully utilised for storing rice as its godowns remain filled with wheat all through the year, he said and added that this seriously affects the capacity of the State to receive custom milled rice during the kharif marketing season.
Naveen requested the Centre to approve creation of an additional 90,000-tonne storage capacity under the private entrepreneurship guarantee (PEG) scheme. He demanded extension of the date for receiving custom milled rice up to March 31, 2012 for the kharif marketing season, 2010-11, and support OSCSC for their efficient operations in procuring over 80 per cent of total paddy by providing 2 per cent incentive.
The Chief Minister said Gajapati district, in addition to the 18 districts of Odisha, should be added to the identified list of 174 poorest districts so that the benefit of BPL/AAY rice allocated by the Centre on the orders of the Supreme Court could be availed of by the poorest of these districts.
According to a release here, the Union Minister assured that the high-level committee will meet in next two weeks to consider and approve the proposals of the State for creation of additional storage capacity. He promised to extend the date for receiving the custom milled rice as demanded by the Chief Minister.
He said that the Union Food Secretary will visit the State shortly to take stock of all pending issues.