The bumper rice production in the State has posed a serious challenge of storage space prompting the Government to seek private investment for setting up warehouses across the districts.
The Odisha State Civil Supplies Corporation (OSCSC) has already prepared a draft Odisha State Private Entrepreneur Guarantee Scheme to protect the interests of private promoters.
With the current storage capacity of 13 lakh tonnes in the State, moves are on to add another two lakh tonnes capacity. The high level committee of the Food Corporation of India (FCI) has approved capacity addition for another 75,000 tonnes under the private entrepreneur guarantee scheme.
The private promoters will get guaranteed return for nine years at a price fixed on the basis of lowest tender, a senior officer of the Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare department said. In fact, the State Government had submitted a proposal to the Centre last year for construction of godowns of additional 90,000-tonne capacity.
Of the existing storage capacity, about 1.5 lakh tonnes of space is going waste due to locational disadvantage and unscientific construction, the sources said. The State Government has agreed to give guarantee for a loan of Rs 40 crore to be availed by the Odisha State Warehousing Corporation (OSWC) for construction of 1.12 lakh-tonne capacity godowns for storage of food grains. The OSWC now has storage capacity of four lakh tonnes. Meanwhile, the State Government has accepted a proposal of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) for putting in place a warehousing scheme on PPP mode.
The IFC is currently assisting FCI in implementing a warehouse scheme on PPP mode across 42 locations with a total capacity of two million tonnes across the country. The State Government will seek its support for creation of new storage space for two lakh tonnes in the first phase.
The FCI’s storage capacity in the State stands at six lakh tonnes, whereas the combined capacity available with Central Warehousing Corporations, State Warehousing Corporation and State Civil Supplies Corporation is close to seven lakh tonnes. The State Government has also hired storage space from private parties. In view of the problem of storage, the State Government has requested the FCI to evacuate at least 1.25 lakh tonnes of rice from the State.