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One lakh mt tonne wheat wasted by FCI


Rupashree Nanda,CNN-IBN
Feb 05, 2009 at 01:01am IST

New Delhi: There is still 3500 mt of imported rotting wheat lying with the FCI in Madhya Pradesh and there is 1,000 mt of rotting wheat lying with FCI in Maharashtra

In all the FCI still has 1,19,000 mt of imported wheat. This is according to the information got in response to an RTI query filed by CNN-IBN.

“If it is still lying it has defeated the purpose for which it was brought, " says Head of Development Policy/ Planning Commission, Santosh Mehrotra.

Imported in the name of the poor, the expensive wheat might now end up being auctioned in the open market at dirt-cheap rates. Even as animals feed or it simply might be buried.

Maharashtra, ironically, the Agriculture minister's home state is already getting rid of the stocks and what is happening in Maharashtra could happen in the rest of the country.

Price of the waste of a lakh tonne of the wheat now lying in godowns had cost the exchequer nearly Rs 200 crore.

“There were questions about whether the government paid more than it should have. We found out that systems were perhaps not followed,” says Central Vigilance Commissioner, Pratyush Sinha.

The FCI is silent on many questions such as how much of imported wheat had to be destroyed, what was the shelf life of this wheat and who decided to dispose off the wheat.

Last year, the FCI internally procured a record 225 mn tonnes of wheat and this year it would be saddled with another 80 million tonnes by May. It simply does not have storage space.

In tough times with recession following inflation, the agriculture ministry needs to accept accountability for wheat that nobody could eat.

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