Kochi: Even as tonnes of foodgrain was found rotting in the open air owing to lack of storage space, a government agency formed exclusively for the storage of agricultural produce is now forced to rent out its godowns to store everything from medical supplies to liquor. The Food Corporation of India has never approached the State Warehousing Corporation to store grains!
The Kerala State Warehousing Corporation, came into existence in 1959. According to the Kerala government website, the idea behind the whole warehousing scheme is to provide scientific storage space to agricultural produce and to arrange easy credit and holding power to the farmers to enable them to get better prices for their produce. Ideally, what an agency like the FCI would need, one would think.
Though the corporation has as many as 59 warehouses across the state with a capacity of 1,97,000 tonnes, none of it has been used for the storage of grains of the FCI. “The Food and Civil Supplies Corporation has never approached us with their terms and conditions or even put up a notice in newspapers.
The FCI used to store grains and pesticides in our warehouses till about 1985. During the 1970s even the imported wheat was stored in our warehouses. Later, the FCI became lax with the payments and they began building their own godowns. In recent years, the FCI has never approached us for storage of its grains. Since we had to pay our employees we have rented it out to other agencies”, said a senior official of the State Warehousing Corporation.
Meanwhile, the authorities concerned said that the rotting of the grains is a temporary issue and that the FCI does not need more space for storing its grains. “The issue of rotting grains is temporary, largely owing to the fact that last year there was a bumper production. Otherwise, especially in Kerala we have enough space to store our grains. Moreover, the Food grainis mostly lost during transportation”, said Union Civil Supplies Minister K V Thomas.