M A I N   N E W S

26,000 tonnes of damaged grains in FCI godowns
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 13
Even as the government commenced procurement for the PDS under the new decentralised scheme, it informed the Lok Sabha that the Food Corporation of India (FCI) had 26,395 tonnes of damaged foodgrains in its godowns as on July 1 this year.

In a written reply, Minister of State for Food, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution Akhilesh Prasad Singh said the damage was caused by natural calamities such as unprecedented rains, floods, cyclones, ballooning of cover and prolonged storage.

He said the Punjab Government, which claimed reimbursement for spoilt grains, had been asked to furnish the relevant details of the damaged wheat to the FCI with documentary evidence.

The government informed the House that under the new foodgrains procurement policy which came into effect from November, foodgrains would be procured from 14 states for public distribution rather than only from Punjab and Haryana.

Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar informed the Lower House that Panchayats had also been empowered to finalise the list of families below poverty line (BPL) so as to cover poorest sections of society.

Replying to the queries during Question Hour he said the procurement had been decentralised and foodgrains were being picked up from 14 states, including Bihar, and in most cases, the foodgrain procured from a state was distributed through the PDS in the same state.

Mr Pawar said state governments had been given instructions to ensure that foodgrains reach the targeted population in backward blocks.

In order to strengthen the PDS, women and ex-servicemen’s bodies should be given priority in allotting fair price shop licences, he said.

The minister said the total food subsidy as of now had been estimated at Rs 25,000 crore which was being distributed among states depending on the number of backward blocks.

He said several conferences had been held to further streamline the PDS and ensure better monitoring so that all families at the risk of hunger, including migrant labour, displaced persons and homeless population, were catered to.

On the plight of cane-growers, the minister said they would get more price for their produce this year than the previous two years even as sugar production has declined due to drought in Maharashtra and Karnataka.

Mr Pawar said the total production of sugar this year was estimated to be 125 lakh tonnes compared to 200 lakh tonnes in 2002-03.

He, however, allayed apprehensions of sugar scarcity saying the carry-over stock of 85 lakh tonnes would see the year through.

“The internal requirement can be fulfilled and steps are being taken to enhance sugarcane plantation to ensure higher production”, he said.

The minister said 700 per cent of the dues to sugar factories have been cleared in the past five months and added the cane growers would get prices higher than the two previous years.

On sugar imports, he said since the entire imported sugar had to be processed and exported, there was no financial burden on the government.

Imported sugar was not available in the market and government could take a decision to that effect at an opportune time, Mr Pawar said, adding that imported sugar enabled better utilisation of installed capacity.

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |