FCI making space for fresh wheat
Chandigarh April 29:
With wheat arrivals picking up over the past week in Punjab, the Food Corporation of India (FCI) has started the exercise to move out the stocks of wheat and rice lying in the state. At an average, the apex procurement agency is moving out 55,000 metric tonne of foodgrains daily.
While 30,000 tonne of wheat and 20,000 tonne of rice was being shifted via special trains to other states, 5000 tonne of wheat was being moved to Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh to be distributed under the public distribution system and for defence personnel. FCI officials said as of now 61.9 lakh metric tonne (MT) of rice and 49.04 lakh MT of wheat needed to be evacuated. With the state set for a record wheat production of 160 lakh MT (record 110 lakh MT to be procured) this year, the unavailability of storage space for fresh wheat has been a cause of concern for the state government.
Over the past six weeks itself, the FCI, it is learnt, received 25 lakh MT of rice for storage. Ever since wheat procurement started this month, the FCI alone has procured 9.81 lakh MT. With peak wheat arrivals having started now, the various mandis in the state are receiving on an average eight to nine lakh MT of wheat daily. “Since this will require a lot of additional storage, we have been left with no option but to speed up the evacuation of old stocks of foodgrains from Punjab to recipient states in east and south India,” said an official.
FCI officials said that for the wheat procured this marketing season they have managed to create space for 11 lakh MT of foodgrain by getting previous years’ wheat stocks lifted from the cap storages (open and plinth).