Agri Business

Punjab CM seeks Centre’s help for hiking grains storage capacity

PTI Chandigarh | Updated on April 07, 2011

Rising wheat and rice procurement for the last few years are adding to the grain storage problem in Punjab, arisen due to slow movement of grain to other states and limited space in granaries.

With a bumper wheat production expected this season ending June 2011, Punjab Chief Minister Mr Parkash Singh Badal on Wednesday met Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, seeking help in augmenting storage capacity and fast disbursal of old food grain stock from granaries to accommodate the new crop.

“Excessive procurement of food grain (wheat and paddy) from Punjab is one of the reasons, besides constraints like insufficient rail rakes, that have led to accumulation of old stock occupying the storage space (leaving less space for storing fresh crop),”said a senior official of FCI.

Wheat lifting from Punjab reached 102.18 lakh Metric Tonne (MT) in 2010—11, as against just 69.46 lakh MT in 2006—07. In 2009—10 also, it broke all previous records by contributing 107.36 lakh MT to the central pool.

Similarly, rice procurement has also gone up to 93.29 lakh MT in 2010—11 against 77.93 lakh MT in 2006—07.

Punjab has 95 lakh MT of covered space, the majority of which is occupied by wheat and rice, with the effect that the state faces a shortage of over 70 lakh MT of space to store the crops, a fact highlighted by the Chief Minister during his meeting with Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh.

“Before the start of wheat lifting season, there should not be any stock of old crop in storage because the space would be needed to store fresh crop,” said Punjab Food and Supplies, Secretary, Mr DS Grewal.

“Besides affecting the quality of rice, space shortage force the state authorities to store crop (wheat) in open and in the rice mills that lead to deterioration in the quality of grain,” he said.

As on April 1, granaries in the state are still holding last year’s wheat stock of 51 lakh MT and 61 lakh MT of rice, forcing Punjab to store almost 105 lakh MT of fresh arrival at the open plinths.

The state needs to find a quick and lasting solution to avoid rotting of food grains in the absence of adequate storage.

Published on April 07, 2011

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