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Jun 13, 2013 at 11:55am IST

Haryana: Left to rot, 22,000 quintals of wheat declared unfit for human consumption

Deoli: Even as the UPA pushes for its ambitious food security legislation, there has been little improvement when it comes to storage infrastructure for food grains. CNN-IBN on its visit to Deoli in Haryana for the third consecutive year has found out that 22,000 quintals of wheat, which was brought for storage in Deoli, has been decaying in sacks and has now been declared unfit for human consumption.

In 2011, CNN-IBN showed that the wheat stored in Deoli was on the verge of decay. In 2012, when CNN-IBN revisited the village, it found out that the rot had gone worse. And now in 2013, the wheat stored in Deoli has been declared unfit for human consumption. At a time when India, where 42 per cent of children under the age of five are malnourished, is awaiting an ambitious food security law, who is responsible for this waste?

Once procured for distribution at ration shops, 22,000 quintals of the rotting wheat will not be auctioned as cattle feed, for industrial use and manure. The previous food inspector at Deoli was suspended following CNN-IBN's report but that did not save the wheat and the new inspector is already playing the blamegame.

"Food inspector is responsible for the safety and preservation of food grain. I got this wheat in this very condition. The central government is responsible for this. How can they afford to keep grain in the open for so long? You can't keep wheat safe at home for this long, how can you expect wheat to be fine in the open," said Food inspector, Palwal, Prahlad Singh Tewatia.

Meanwhile, at a nearby village Bhagola, labourers are trying to sift good wheat from the rot. "We don't about the quality of the wheat. We are only filling up the sacks and packing them up," the labourers told CNN-IBN.

Even as the wheat is rotting in Bhagola, the government is trying to palm it off to the poor through the Public Distribution Scheme. The District Food Supply Controller, however, tries to play it down.

"This wheat is clean, it will go to the PDS. Some of it is damaged, we are separating the spoilt wheat from the one that's fine," GPS Sikri District Food Supply Controller Faridabad and Palwal said.

2.1 lakh metric tonne of new wheat has been procured in Palwal in 2013. There is also one lakh metric tonne of wheat from the last year. With covered storage available for only 1.3 lakh metric tonne wheat in Palwal, it is clear that most of the fresh food grain will rot yet again.