BHUBANESWAR: Appreciating Odisha’s supply chain management under the public distribution system (PDS), the Centre on Saturday assured the State Government that the Food Corporation of India (FCI) would procure 50,000 metric tonne (MT) of surplus rice from godowns next month.
Union Food and Public Distribution Secretary B C Gupta, who reviewed the PDS mechanism in the State here, gave the assurance. “The FCI will lift 50,000 MT of rice from its godowns in June. Subsequently, surplus rice will be sent to other rice-consuming states,” Gupta told mediapersons.
The Central delegation visited the State after Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik sought Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s intervention for moving at least a lakh MT rice from the State every month .
“Despite a request by the State and my Food Minister’s meeting with Union Food Minister, FCI has not moved a single grain from the State in April and May,” the Chief Minister said in a letter to Manmohan Singh on May 21. Naveen said as the FCI godowns were full, the State was facing difficulties in storing fresh procurements.
Gupta appreciated the State Government’s supply chain management saying Odisha consumed its own rice after its procurement in the State. Shifting of additional rice to other consuming states is required due to lack of space in the godowns for storing new procurement.
The State has 60 FCI godowns having six lakh MT storage capacity and 270 other godowns of four lakh MT capacity.
On the Centre agreeing to evacuate 50,000 MT of rice in June, State’s Food and Civil Supplies Secretary M S Padhi said something is better than nothing and added at last the Centre has decided to create space in FCI godowns.
“As rabi procurement has already started, unless surplus rice is moved out of the State immediately, it will not be in a position to ensure procurement,” Naveen had said in his letter. All the godowns available with the Orissa State Civil Supplies Corporation (OSCSC) and rice millers have been filled to the brim living little scope for any further procurement. Since the rabi procurement has to be completed before June 15, there is an urgent need for evacuation of surplus rice to ensure smooth procurement, he had said.
Under the decentralised procurement of rice, the State designated agencies procured 21.61 lakh tonne of rice in the 2011-12 kharif marketing season (KMS) till end-April. There is a carrying balance of 1.5 lakh tonne of rice from the 2010-11 KMS.
The Central agency has moved only 70,000 tonne of rice from the State since the start of the current KMS. The FCI godowns currently have a stock of more than two lakh tonne of wheat, which is the State’s requirement for about six months, the Chief Minister had said.