Wheat procurement to be expedited | india | Hindustan Times
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Wheat procurement to be expedited

Amidst reports that flourmills were either facing a virtual closure or running at the lowest of their capacity due to wheat shortage, the state government has decided to expedite the process of procurement to ensure that its centres began purchasing wheat by April 1, 2006.

india Updated: Feb 08, 2006 01:12 IST

Amidst reports that flourmills were either facing a virtual closure or running at the lowest of their capacity due to wheat shortage, the state government has decided to expedite the process of procurement to ensure that its centres began purchasing wheat by April 1, 2006.

As the state government had failed to meet its wheat procurement targets last year, Union Joint Secretary for Food Sanjay Kaul held a meeting with Agriculture Production Commissioner (APC) Naveen Chand Bajpai and other senior officers to discuss the problems and to ensure that wheat procurement targets were met this year.

Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav is likely to preside over a high-level meeting on Wednesday to review wheat availability and expedite arrangements for procurement of wheat in 2006. Principal Secretary, Food and Civil Supplies, Sudhir Kumar said steps were being initiated to ensure that all wheat procurement centres became operational by last week of March, 2006 and began purchasing wheat by April 1, 2006.

In all, about 4,500 wheat procurement centre have been set up by the wheat procurement agencies that include food and civil supplies department, UP Essential Commodities Corporation, Pradeshiya Cooperative Federation and UP Agro etc.

The state government was able to procure only 5.5 lakh tonnes of wheat last year against the target of 25 lakh tonnes. As a target to procure 25 lakh tonnes of wheat has been fixed again this year, the state government has decided to lend all necessary help to the procurement agencies. The Food Corporation of India is also going to procure 5 lakh tonnes of wheat.

Meanwhile, the UP Roller Flour Mills Association has asserted that a number of flourmills were on the verge of closure in the wake of shortage of wheat. In a letter sent to Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, the association has pointed out that the Centre was not making sufficient quantity of wheat available in the open market.

The Centre had allocated 8,000 tonnes of wheat for January and 8,000 tonnes for February 2006 for UP, the association said, adding the allocations made to other states were much higher. The association has demanded that the Centre should increase the wheat allocations being made to the Centre.

Replying to a question, Sudhir Kumar said allocation of 8,000 tonnes of wheat was over and above the regular allocations. The Centre had assured to raise allocations if needed, he said, adding there was no shortage of wheat.