Economy

Punjab, Haryana to get more rail rakes for grain movement

Press Trust of India Chandigarh | Updated on April 12, 2011

Punjab has been demanding movement of almost 25 lakh tonnes a month of wheat and rice to other States to tide over storage crisis, but FCI has managed to shift only 15 lakh tonnes of wheat and rice.





The Railway Board has assured the Food Corporation of India (FCI) to provide 30 rakes, almost 50 per cent more than what it currently provides, to Punjab and Haryana in the ongoing wheat procurement exercise to quicken the movement of foodgrain stock to other States.

“We have taken up the matter with Railway Board and Board has agreed to provide 30 rakes per day to Punjab and Haryana for foodgrain movement in the month of April,” the FCI Chairman and Managing Director, Mr Siraj Hussain, told PTI today.

The additional rakes will facilitate movement of about 25,000 tonnes more of foodgrain daily to other States.

Currently, 21 rakes are in service for the stock movement of foodgrain from Punjab and Haryana.

“With the allocation of more rail rakes, the movement of foodgrain will also speed up which will reduce pressure on the current storage capacities,” said an FCI official.

Punjab, which has been facing severe storage crisis, has been demanding fast movement of stock to other States. The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, last week had even apprised the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, of this matter and sought his intervention in this regard.

Punjab has been demanding movement of almost 25 lakh tonnes a month of wheat and rice to other States to tide over storage crisis, but FCI has managed to shift only 15 lakh tonnes of wheat and rice.

In the wake of storage problem, FCI has also decided to move wheat directly from mandis to railway station for transportation where markets could possibly get choked due to heavy crop arrival.

“In some cases, we may have to more wheat directly from mandis to prevent choking (of mandis),” said Mr Hussain.

Mr Hussain on Monday held meeting with senior officials of Punjab and Haryana governments here to review the ongoing wheat procurement exercise in both states.

Finding slow off-take of foodgrain from Punjab and Haryana, FCI has also taken up the matter with the governments of Jharkhand and Bihar to speed up the off-take.

“There has been less off-take from States such as Jharkhand and Bihar and we have written to them in this regard,” Mr Hussain said.

He said the wheat arrival in Punjab and Haryana has got delayed due to prolonged cold conditions. “The wheat arrival (in Punjab and Haryana) will pick up after Baisakhi festival (April 13),” he said.

Wheat procurement from Punjab is planned at 110 lakh tonnes and 65 lakh tonnes from Haryana in current season.

On storage capacity, Mr Hussain said Haryana and Punjab both had seen setting up of 2 lakh million tonnes each of new capacities for food grain storage last year.

Published on April 12, 2011

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