After roads, embankments, ponds and toilets, foodgrain storage units may get created under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme.

Faced with storage crisis, Food Minister, Mr K.V.Thomas, discussed the issue of creating such facilities at the village level under the job guarantee scheme with the Rural Development Minister, Mr Jairam Ramesh, on Thursday.

“It is still in the preliminary stages and modalities will soon be worked out,” Mr Thomas told reporters, detailing the steps taken by his Ministry to enhance foodgrain storage and its quick movement.

Following a record foodgrain production aided by an increase in minimum support price, procurement by Government agencies has touched an all-time high this year. Central foodgrain stocks as on June 1, 2012 stood at 82.31 million tonnes consisting of 50.1 million tonnes of wheat and 32.14 million tonnes of rice, Mr Thomas said. This is against a storage capacity of 64 million tonnes with FCI and other agencies.

He expressed concern over the 6.6 million tonnes of wheat in the Government stock lying in the open, mainly in Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, which runs the high risk of damages during monsoon. “We will give utmost priority to move this wheat to safe place in monsoon,” Mr Thomas said.

FCI has been directed to plan for additional storage jointly with the State governments and draw a list of locations including private storage spaces and co-operative mills and use the same, Mr Thomas said.

vishwa@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on June 21, 2012)
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