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HindustanTimes Sat,27 Dec 2014

No place to store 5 lakh MT wheat this season

Navrajdeep Singh, Hindustan Times  Sangrur, April 08, 2013
First Published: 22:08 IST(8/4/2013) | Last Updated: 23:44 IST(8/4/2013)

The district administration is in a fix to store the newly-harvested wheat that is about to reach the grain markets.

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An acute shortage of godowns and slow movement of last year's stocks of wheat and paddy already lodged in different warehouses have compounded the problems for authorities concerned.

As per available information, around 13 lakh metric tonnes of wheat is expected to be procured. Out of this, the administration can scientifically store only eight lakh metric tonnes.

Thus, five lakh metric tonne wheat would be stored in an unscientific way, either at rice shellers or in open places.

The administration does not even have open plinths to store the grains, as already two lakh metric tonne wheat is lying there owing to the failure of the Food Corporation of India (FCI) to lift it in the past years.

Though the procurement season formally started from April 1, wheat produce is yet to reach the grain markets due to a delayed harvest.

Admitting the space crunch, deputy commissioner Kumar Rahul said the administration had talked to rice shelling units to store five lakh metric tonnes, last year's procured wheat is still occupying all the scientific godowns and open plinths.

"The administration is in regular touch with FCI's general manager and has asked him to speed up wheat movement to make some space for the new stock," the DC said.

Punjab Mandi Board chairman Ajmer Singh Lakhowal said the government had already written to the Centre to lift the previously stored stock of paddy and wheat at the earliest.

Around 150 lakh metric tonne wheat is expected to be procured this season from across the state.

Lakhowal said that owing to the lackadaisical attitude of the union government, most of the paddy and wheat stored in open places had been rotting.

"The central government has managed to lift last year's stocks of both the crops from Haryana, but has shown laxity in moving the crops in Punjab," Lakhowal alleged.

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