Punjab rues inaction on increasing food grain storage

July 16th, 2011 - 9:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Chandigarh, July 16 (IANS) The Punjab government Saturday lamented the inaction by the central government in creating more storage capacity for food grain in the state - the food granary of the country.

Highlighting the problem of storage of food grains, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, who met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi Saturday, said that despite repeated requests, no action had been initiated to increase storage capacity.

Against a required capacity of 49 lakh tonnes for food grain storage, the total approved capacity is only 22 lakh tonnes, he said, according to officials here.

Badal said that the arrival of the new paddy crop will further aggravate the situation.

He also requested the prime minister to direct the railways ministry to speed up the movement of food grains from the state so that more storage space could be made available for the storage of the new paddy crop.

He lamented that the movement was too slow at present, on an average of about 15 lakh tonnes being moved per month.

Badal pointed out that the total food grain stock of 201 lakh tonnes was lying in the state presently.

Raising another issue - procurement of maize - to encourage the farmers to shift some cultivable areas from rice to maize, Badal urged the prime minister to take up this matter with the Food Corporation of India (FCI) to procure maize from Punjab farmers on the lines of wheat and paddy.

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