Paddy procurement nears, FCI battles space crunch

By Ruchika M Khanna

As the government targets to procure 182 lakh metric tonnes of paddy, beginning Sunday, the Food Corporation of India (FCI) is working round the clock to create a space for storing the rice.

At present, of the 170 lakh metric tonnes (lmt) capacity to store the grain in Punjab, stored rice and wheat is already utilising 120 lmt of space. As a result, only 50 lmt of space is available for storing the new rice.

This year, the state government is targeting to procure 182 lmt of paddy. The paddy will be sent to 4,400 rice-shelling units. With an out-turn ratio of 67 per cent, the state will have another 120 lmt of rice from this year’s crop, which will have to be stored in the godowns and silos.

“The shelled rice will start coming to the FCI godowns in December. We are targeting to create space in the godowns to store the entire 120 lmt of rice that will be shelled from this year’s paddy. Each month, 15-17 lmt of foodgrain, mainly wheat, is being transported from Punjab to the recipient states. By February-March, when we expect the entire rice to be delivered, there will be enough space to store this year’s rice,” B Srinivasan, General Manager, FCI Punjab Region, said.

As per the directions of the Government of India issued last year, foodgrain can no longer be stored in either open or covered and plinth (CAP) storages to avoid these grains being exposed to the vagaries of weather and being spoilt. As a result, the movement of grains from food producing states to recipient states is now much faster.

Also, the state government has already sanctioned the construction of godowns having capacity to store 9 lmt of foodgrain, mostly in the Malwa region. The FCI also proposes to build 70 more silos. As these projects take off, the state will have enough scientific and covered storage for the foodgrains.

Rs 37k cr credit limit sanctioned by RBI

To procure 182 lmt of paddy, the RBI has already sanctioned a cash credit limit (CCL) of Rs 37,265 crore for October. The state government had sought a CCL limit of Rs 44,200 crore. Secretary, Food and Supply, Gurkirat Kirpal Singh says that the remaining amount will be released to the state in November.

This article has been republished from The Tribune

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