About 70,000 tonnes of wheat stored in open plinths across Punjab has been declared rotten and unfit for human consumption in the current rabi marketing season.
The procurement would conclude by June-end, when the monsoon is likely to arrive, exposing the wheat to the elements. About 40 storage centres have been identified where the quality of a portion of the foodgrains stored is not fit for human consumption.
The state already has a season-opening balance of 131 lakh tonnes of foodgrains (65 lakh tonnes wheat, 66 lakh tonnes rice). Punjab has covered storage space for 100 lakh tonnes of foodgrains, while open plinths can store 106 lakh tonnes. Going by available figures, 55 lakh tonnes of wheat are likely to rot in the open, even though 10 lakh tonnes of additional covered space was created in the state recently.
"We are requesting the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and the central government to move out the grain stocks at a faster pace so that we can store the wheat arriving in the grain markets," said DS Grewal, secretary, food and civil supplies, Punjab.
"We are trying to send maximum stock out of here so as to make as much space as possible available for fresh wheat being procured," said FCI's deputy general manager (storage) Aseem Chhabra.