Faced with acute shortage of storage space, the State Government has sought permission from the Centre to augment its capacity. It has submitted a proposal for constructing godowns that can have capacity for an additional 90,000 metric tonne.
The Government is already apprehending that inadequate storage capacity could affect its paddy procurement which is due in the next four months. The shortage could lead to distress sale which has been a regular phenomenon in the State.
Currently, the total storage capacity available in the State stands at 5,69,350 metric tonne against a requirement of 8,53,950 metric tonne.
In a recent letter to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, the State Government said Odisha has no separate storage space for keeping public distribution system (PDS) stocks and procurement stocks which is why the available space is utilised simultaneously for both the purposes.
The Government has already started construction of godowns under the Private Entrepreneurs Guarantee Scheme 2009 and space for 1,94,600 metric tonne is expected to be created by March 2013. The Government has moved the Centre for granting approval to construct space for another 90,000 metric tonne to meet the gap.
Only two days ago, Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Minister Pratap Keshari Deb had gone on record about the inadequate storage space that is causing problems for paddy procurement. About 6 lakh metric tonne rice is waiting to be procured after the State met its requirements for schemes such as Antyodaya and ` 2-a-kg rice.
The State Government has already moved the Food Corporation of India (FCI) to lift the surplus rice lying at its godown since the procurement season is drawing near. Since procurement will start by December, the godowns need to be cleared by the FCI or else the space shortage could cause trouble for the department.