The Union government said on Wednesday that it will open seven new quality control cells in the 12th five-year plan (2012-17) to monitor quality of food grains during procurement, storage and distribution.
"We have decided to start seven new quality control cells (QCC) at Guwahati, Patna, Chandigarh, Jammu, Jaipur, Chennai and Ahmedabad in the 12th plan," Food Minister K V Thomas told reporters after inaugurating the modernised central grains analysis laboratory (CGAL) here.
At present, states do not have a very strong quality control mechanism. The proposed new QCCs will help state agencies to ensure good quality grains are procured, stored safely and distributed via ration shops, he said.
Currently, there are eight quality control cells in different cities with small laboratories attached to them for physical analysis of food grains.
In 2011-12 fiscal, the officers of eight QCCs inspected 1086 food storage depots, 532 procurement centres, 411 loading and unloading points, 251 rice mills and 1201 ration shops. They collected and analysed 5,921 foodgrains samples.
On CGAL, Thomas said the CGAL, which was set up in 1945, has been modernised with state of the art equipment to facilitate speedy analysis of foodgrains samples with more accuracy.
CGAL is an apex laboratory that analyses the samples sent by QCCs and investigating agencies like CBI in a time-bound manner. A total of Rs 1 crore has been spend for modernizing this lab, he said.
The minister also launched the redesigned website of the ministry of consumer affairs, food and public distribution.