100-lt capacity steel silos yet to become a reality: Paswan

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on June 07, 2019 Published on June 07, 2019

Ram Vilas Paswan, Minister for Food and Public Distribution   -  Ranjeet Kumar;Ranjeet Kumar -

Land acquisition the major hurdle; new design in the works, says Minister

The government’s plan to build steel silos — as part of its efforts to modernise grain storage in the country — came a cropper as silos of only 6.7 lakh tonnes (lt) have been constructed so far, even though the approval was for 100 lt capacity, Minister for Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan said on Friday.

The ambitious plan was to construct silos of a total of 100 lt capacity in different parts of the country under public-private partnership (PPP) so that food grains meant for public distribution can be stored without losing quality and minimal losses.

“We have not been able to make much progress in the last five years,” Paswan told media persons while giving a detailed account of the future roadmap for the Food Corporation of India (FCI), which falls under his Ministry.

He said the biggest problem was land acquisition along the railway track as it was mandated by the recommendations of a high-level committee on restructuring FCI led by former Minister Shanta Kumar. According to him, tenders are expected to be floated soon for another 22 lt capacity steel silos.

The rest, however will have to wait for some time as the Ministry has decided to have a new design for future silos. The Ministry has roped in the state-owned RITES to come up with a new design. RITES has been given three months to submit the design and the task of construction would be initiated soon after the design is frozen, the Minister said. But he promised that the construction of all silos will be completed by 2022-23.

The FCI, which has nearly 40,000 labourers ranging from permanent staff to daily wagers to contract workers in its depots and godowns, has decided to streamline the system bringing all of them under one category as directed by the court. According to FCI Chairman and Managing Director, DV Prasad, the management has held talks with 40 different trade unions associated with FCI and half of them have agreed to the restructuring plans. The talks are on with other unions as well, he said.

FCI procurement

On the procurement front, FCI has so far procured 338 lakh tonnes of wheat during the current Rabi season. Similarly, out 423 lakh tonnes of rice planned for 2018-19, 341 lakh has already arrived in FCI godowns, Paswan said.

Published on June 07, 2019

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