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Civil Supplies: Red wheat edible

india Updated: Oct 20, 2006 12:50 IST

MP STATE Civil Supplies Corporation (MPSCSC) quality control cell has found the imported red wheat supplied to the district’s 511 fair price shops to be fit for human consumption.

Samples from 12 stacks of red wheat stored in godown number 2 B here were examined at the laboratory in Bhopal a week back. Releasing the test report, the cell’s business consultant said that the stocks on peripheral sampling have been found conforming to Government of India uniform specification and are of Fair Average Quality (FAQ).

The red wheat supplied by Food Corporation of India (FCI) through MPSCSC had generated protests in slums areas where local Congress leaders had accused District Supplies Department of providing rotten, smelly red wheat to the poor during festival season in the City while it is reeling under chikungunya and dengue.

Holding demonstration at the Collectorate on Thursday, ward 16 Congress corporator Rajendra Kuwal alleged that children in slums were falling sick after consuming rotis made of red wheat. The ration cardholders have demanded supply of white wheat at fair price shops. The monthly allotment of wheat at ration shops is 3,000 tonne approximately.

“It doesn’t matter whether its red or white wheat. What matters is its nutritive value and red wheat has all the nutrients. The same Australian/Canadian/Russian red wheat is being supplied to Gujarat, Maharashtra and in south,” FCI District Manager D K Pandya said. He denied that the supplied wheat was rotten.

Downloaded from Mundra port in west Gujarat, about 45 racks (one rack contains 2,400 tonne) of red wheat arrived in Madhya Pradesh early this month for distribution, as FCI ran out of white wheat stocks. Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, a month back, had expressed the need to import wheat for civil supplies.

District Supplies (Food) Department holds that people of Malwa who are accustomed to consuming quality white wheat find the red one obnoxious on very first sight and it was psychologically hard for them to consume it. The wheat grown in the State, especially in Malwa, is regarded as best in the country and for this very reason MPSCSC began purchasing it locally since past seven years instead of procuring it from Punjab.

Keeping in view the public psyche and protests, District Supply Controller B L Kasat has asked local FCI officials to release 300 tonnes of white wheat from reserve stock for mid-day meals served at schools and Aganvadis as monthly allotment.

Though the FCI may agree this month, it may not maintain white wheat supplies from next month. The red wheat supply, sources said, is likely to continue till April 2007 when the wheat sown in the State this month will be harvested.

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