M A I N   N E W S

Colossal wheat wastage in Punjab, Haryana
Vibha Sharma/TNS

New Delhi, May 1
Advising the government to distribute stored foodgrain among poor families instead of allowing it to rot, the Supreme Court had stated a few months back that wastage of even a single foodgrain in a poor country like India is a crime.

However, the latest figures of damaged foodgrain issued by the government suggest no lessons have been learnt.

Punjab and Haryana were together responsible for causing damage to as much as 76,762 tonne wheat during 2011-12, rendering it unsuitable for human consumption, while central procurement agency FCI lost 3338.01 tonne foodgrain, including 2401.61 tonne wheat and 936.40 tonne rice, during the fiscal, the government admitted today.

Even though the government claims to be taking all precautionary measures for safe and scientific storage of foodgrain in the country, figures suggest otherwise.

Responding to a query in the Rajya Sabha, Food Minister KV Thomas yesterday revealed that 66,306 tonne of the winter crop stored by state agencies in Punjab and 10,456 tonne in Haryana were rendered damaged/non-issuable in 2011-12.

By his own admission, the reasons for precious foodgrain becoming unfit for human consumption include storage pest attack, leakages in godowns, procurement of poor quality stocks, spillages due to movement and handling of stocks, exposure to rains, floods and negligence by persons concerned in taking precautionary measures.

At a time when the UPA is struggling to put on the table its ambitious Food Security Act, guaranteeing 25 kg of wheat or rice at Rs 3 per kg, the wastage of wheat is inexcusable. Even though Thomas said the damage in FCI godowns was “meagre”, experts question the gross wastage when a large population goes hungry and 46 per cent of the country’s children are malnourished.

A large population is surviving on less than minimum requirement of calories. According to the NSSO’s latest report on nutritional intake in India, about 19.4 per cent of rural households and 20.5 per cent of urban households had a caloric intake of less than 2,160 kilocalories per day in 2009-10.





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