Storage of procured foodgrains - The ever-prevailing concern
08 May, 2014
We can easily witness the deficiency of food in distinct zones of the country; however, it is shocking that procured foodgrains are lying haphazardly in the open areas, with no sincere attempts to distribute grains to those who are in need. The Food Corporation of India (FCI) claims to have 1,820 godowns across the country with a storage capacity of 30.52 million tonnes. Though the government, with a view to minimizing the storage and transit losses, approved the policy of integrated bulk handling and transportation facilities in the year 2000, but nothing much has been achieved.
The candidates of
the general elections of 2014 though appeared to be concerned about
malnutrition and the dipping prosperity of farmers, none of the
political leaders came up with any suggestion or agenda to develop an
infrastructure wherein the procured foodgrains can be stored
hygienically and can then be dispersed in the areas of consumption.
Though newspapers and electronic media consciously captured the
storage of foodgrains in the open and subsequent loss, political
groups are least worried. The gap of understanding between the need
to export surplus and subsequent import during deficit is wide. Plus,
corruption too makes the circumstances worst.
The reports last
year presented the fact that tonnes of wheat is being damaged owing
to the lack of storage capacity, on the contrary millions of Indians
writhed to get hold of food for a time. The parliament witnessed some
tough sessions, however real solution to this concern has not yet
been achieved. Of almost 63 million tonnes of grains procured by the
government, 28 million is stored in the open with ever-high
vulnerability to damage and losses. The estimated loss in rupee terms
due to such storage shortages is INR 60000 crores. It has been
claimed that 194502 metric tonnes of grains were damaged between 2005
Haryana, Madhya Pradesh
has emerged as one of the bulk producers of
grains in India. It is estimated that the storage capacity in the
state of Punjab
is 14.3 million tonnes. Of this, 12.1 million tonnes
space is already occupied by the produce of last year. For the
current year, the state is expected to generate 14 million tonnes of
produce, of which more than 70 percent will again be stored absurdly
in the open. Plastic covers are being used to cover the foodgrains
stored around the platforms, which renders the produce unhygienic
even for consumption by animals. Who stands accountable for such
Swift measures are
the need of the hour. While on one hand the government and FCI will
have to come up with a sturdy plan of action for enhancing the
storage infrastructure; transportation of foodgrains to the areas of
consumption has to be taken care on the other hand. FCI has to
recover from the laidback attitude so as to ensure that the presence
of this corporation is beneficial for the public at large.
PPP model has to be introduced with the restructuring of the
organizational structure of FCI, which would stimulate the working as
well the decision making and planning modules of the corporation.
Decentralized storage, with creation of storage units at the block
level can be an effective solution if undertaken appropriately.
It is considerable
to note in the same context that the Food Minister, K V Thomas
advocated extensive reorganization of the FCI claiming that the
corporation is turning out to be a ‘white elephant’. In the year
2012, top to bottom revamping of the FCI was looked for by the Food
Ministry; however no sincere attempts were made.
Corruption in the
corporation is known to all and the staff at numerous times has been
charged with allegations of mismanagement. The Apex Court too had to
take cognizance of the wastage of grains lying with the FCI and it
was advised to take measures for rapid distribution of foodgrains to
Another way out
until the above mentioned measures are carried out is the use of
‘Silo Bags’. These special bags are three-layered polythene bags,
wherein two layers help prevent the stored produce from UV rays and
damage from water, while the third black layer prevents the grains
from sunlight. For 18-24 months, this measure prevents the stored
grains from vermin as well as other damages.
government has started the use of these bags; however other states
are still to re-think their storage parameters. Surely, quick
decisions and extensive reorganization are the measures that can help
prevent the foodgrains from damage.
This article is categorized under
Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely
those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of
merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click
to share the same in the comments section.
About The Author
A Chartered Accountant by profession and Director on the board of Punjab National Bank (PNB), General Insurance Corporation of India (GIC) and Rural Electrification Corporation Limited (REC). Dr. Sunil Gupta is working flawlessly for the economic and social prosperity of India.