New Delhi: Over 7 lakh tonnes of freshly procured wheat is lying in the open and the Madhya Pradesh government is claiming it has exhausted all its storage options. Private godown owners, however, have complained to the state chief Minister alleging godowns are lying vacant and have not been taken on rent as they refused to bribe officials.
With the monsoon expected to reach Madhya Pradesh in two weeks, it looks like the state will see another grain drain. The state government claims there is just no place to store the grain and that every godown - both private and state owned - has been used. Meanwhile, there are complaints of officials seeking bribes from private godown owners.
"I was asked to pay Rs 10,000 bribe and when I refused, my godown was not taken on rent," said Radhe Shyam Aggarwal, godown owner.
The rot runs deep. At this warehouse in Gadarwara, freshly procured wheat is lying outside, while the state government continues to pay rent for storing grain already attacked by pests. But the state government claims it has done everything possible to enhance storage capacity.
"we have issued over 100 fresh licenses. That means storage capacity has been enhanced by 2.5 to 3 lakh metric tonnes. Also we have enhanced the rent," said Ajity Kesri, Additional Director, Food and civil supplies.
The state has already procured more than 47 lakh metric tonnes of wheat this year. The state government says 30 lakh tonnes has been stored inside while around 10 lakh tonnes has been covered with tarpaulin sheets. The remaining 7 lakh tonnes is out in the open and has been damaged by pre-monsoon showers at several places.