New Delhi, May 2 (IANS) With the government unable to store a bumper crop for the third year in a row, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday appointed a panel headed by C. Rangarajan, chief of his economic advisory council, to suggest how it can distribute the additional grain to the needy.
The decision was taken after the prime minister reviewed the food stocks and
storage situation here.
Food Minister K.V. Thomas said the stock of wheat and rice stood at 199.52 lakh tonnes and 333.50 lakh tonnes, respectively, as on April 1, 2012, against the buffer norms of 70 lakh tonnes and 142 lakh tonnes for wheat and rice, respectively.
Most of the godowns are overflowing and the grains would have to stored in the open thus making it vulnerable to rot.
According to an estimate, when the monsoon rains begin to lash the country around 231.82 lakh tonnes of wheat will be exposed to the weather in the open in major producing states of Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh.
The problem gets compounded as the government’s scheme to build additional storage capacity has not matched pace with the bumper crop in the past three years, said officials.