Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s urgent intervention for permission to construct 20 LMT capacity covered godowns in the state for scientific storage of foodgrains, to address the acute shortage of covered storage space.
In a letter to the prime minister, Captain Amarinder Singh has urged him to direct the Ministry of Food, Government of India, to “allow construction of 20 LMT capacity covered godowns, under 7 Year Guarantee by GOI/FCI, so that foodgrains may be scientifically stored in the State.”
The Chief Minister pointed out that bumper crops during the last few seasons, coupled with slow pace of evacuation of foodgrains from the State of Punjab, had resulted in acute shortage of covered storage space. As a result, more than 100 LMT of wheat, out of 280 LMT of foodgrain stocked in the State, is currently stored in the open, he said, adding that the situation had worsened this year because of unseasonal rains, resulting in the purchase of certain quantities of wheat under relaxed specifications (URS).
Though FCI had approved the construction of additional silo capacity of 21 LMT with railway sidings in the State, construction of the same may take 4-5 years or even more, the Chief Minister noted. As a result, lack of adequate storage space would force State Procuring Agencies to store wheat in unscientific locations in the coming seasons and further lead to damage of wheat stocks, he said, terming this a national loss.
The Government of Punjab, wrote Captain Amarinder Singh, had requested the Ministry of Food, Government of India, to allow construction of covered godowns under Guarantee by GOI/FCI. But formal approval from the Ministry was still awaited, he said, adding that it normally takes about 10 months for a scientific godown to be constructed and only 10 months are now left for the start of the next Rabi Season 2020-21.
The State Government is, therefore, running against time to ensure availability of adequate scientific storage space for the next Rabi season, he emphasized, seeking the prime minister’s urgent intervention to address the critical issue.