In a country with millions of hungry stomachs, granaries are being used to store liquor even as tonnes of foodgrains lie rotting in the open.
The Food Corporation of India’s (FCI’s) godowns in the Gandhinagar locality of Jaipur were found storing cartons of liquor for Rajasthan State Breweries Corporation while wheat grains were left in the sun for want of space. Even the platform at the Gandhinagar railway station is stacked with wheat bags, reports said.
The issue rocked the assembly on Wednesday, with the opposition BJP demanding the resignation of the Food and Civil Supplies Minister Babu Lal Nagar.
“The minister should resign as the government has failed to monitor the storage of wheat, which is lying exposed in the sun and being eaten by stray animals. This could endanger the lives of people,” said BJP MLA Hanuman Beniwal.
The FCI has denied reports of irregularities, saying only vacant warehouses were allowed to be leased out. It also claims to have asked the breweries to vacate the sheds.
“Two years ago when there was not much wheat stock, FCI had sought permission from the headquarters to rent out sheds. The sheds rented to the Breweries Corporation will be emptied within 10 days,” FCI area manager S.S. Malhotra said.
Most of Rajasthan’s wheat comes from Punjab and Haryana. The FCI had asked for nearly 5 lakh metric tonnes of wheat to be moved to Rajasthan, of which 3 lakh metric tonnes have arrived.