Punjab to get 50 lakh tonnes storage capacity

May 6th, 2011 - 5:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, May 6 (IANS) Punjab, which faces a major problem of food grain storage every year, will get an additional storage capacity of around 50 lakh tonnes in the next three years, a minister said Friday.

“The Indian government has decided that we would have an additional storage capacity of 150 lakh tonnes. Out of this, Punjab would get storage capacity of nearly 50 lakh tonnes,” K.V. Thomas, minister for food, public distribution and consumer affairs, told reporters.

“The neighbouring state of Haryana would get 38 lakh tonnes additional capacity. Punjab and Haryana are major contributors of wheat and rice in the central pool. Over the last three years, Punjab alone has been contributing around 44 percent wheat and 28 percent rice in the central kitty,” he added.

Thomas, who was in Punjab for an overview of the ongoing procurement operations in the state, was not very satisfied with the arrangements.

“Though, I am not fully satisfied, but work is on. It is a continuous process and improvements are on. In Punjab, space is available for storing 100.01 lakh tonnes wheat. We are also focusing on direct movement of wheat from mandis to other parts of the country,” stated Thomas.

“Farmers should get direct payment and as far as it is possible, it should be through cheques,” he said.

According to official records, 102.18 lakh tonnes of wheat was purchased in the central pool from Punjab region last year. This year, the Punjab government has set a target of 110 lakh tonnes for wheat procurement.

“Though good yield is expected this year, there have been reports of wheat getting lustreless because of rains. This has been reported in areas of Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Nawanshahar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Moga districts. References have been made by the Food Corporation of India to grant relaxation on this account,” he said.

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