Wheat, paddy storage glut seems to be over in Punjab

  • Gurpreet Singh Nibber, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Feb 16, 2015 07:44 IST

Godowns and warehouses in Punjab would no longer overflow with the food grains as the cover and plinth (CAP) storage is expected to become empty by the end of the current year.

The trend has reversed from times when the state stored 140 lakh tonnes of wheat in CAP storage in 2012-13 against a total capacity of 110 lakh tonnes.

The government and its procurement agencies along with the food corporation of India (FCI) used to get storage jitters at the onset of every procurement season with lots of space around mandis and markets being used to stack up wheat and paddy bags.

General manager of FCI Assem Chhabra said that Punjab has added 40 lakh tonnes of covered storage capacity in past three years and very soon the day of open storage will be over. "We have also taken a decision that wheat will not be stored in open plinths beyond a period of six months," adds Chhabra.

This is good news for wheat and paddy producing states, especially Punjab, where for the past few seasons there was a storage glut, which was attributed to sluggish movement of the food grains out of state.

Also, the rice-wheat belt of Punjab, Haryana, and western Uttar Pradesh which feared the ending of the minimum support price (MSP) regime on the face of the supply glut, could be rest assured that Centre will not stop the assured remuneration as the grain movement has increased again.

As per the figures procured form the food corporation of India (FCI), since April 2014 till January 2015, 19.75 lakh tonnes of food grain (10.5 lakh tonnes wheat and 9.25 lakh tonnes rice) is being moved out of Punjab on a monthly average to consumer states, a jump of 15-20%.

"Unlike financial year 2013-14 food grains from Punjab is moving out at a fast pace," said Manmohan Singh Sarang, additional managing director, Punsup. "There was a time when Punjab used to send reminders to FCI to fasten pace of food grain movement to avert food grain glut situation," he adds.

By April 1, Punjab would have 70 lakh tonnes of wheat (36 lakh tonne in covered storage space and 34 lakh tonne in CAP storage) and 55 lakh tonnes of rice in covered space.

There is about 15 lakh tonnes of paddy stored in covered and CAP storage. In the coming rabi season starting from April 1, 125 lakh tonne of wheat is expected to be procured and there is plan that 25 lakh tonne would be sent to consumer states from procurement centres.

According to Chhabra the movement has quickened because of an increase in the number of beneficiaries under the public distribution system after the implementation of the food security act and increased wheat export since September 2011-12, which had touched 80 lakh tonnes by 2013-14. gurpreet.nibber@hindustantimes.com

In the current financial year the exports have not taken place.

Total capacity
Covered - total: 148 lakh tonnes; vacant: 70 lakh tonnes
Covered and plinth (CAP) - total: 110 lakh tones; vacant: 70 lakh tonnes

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