New Delhi: The Chhattisgarh government
today asked the Centre to direct the Food Corporation of India
to take the onus of converting at least 20 lakh tonnes of
paddy procured by the state into rice.
"I requested Sharad Pawar to direct FCI to lift at least
20 lakh tonnes of paddy from the state for milling. This will
be a win-win situation for both FCI and the state,"
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh told reporters after
emerging from a meeting with the Union Agriculture Minister.
Chhattisgarh procures around 50 lakh tonnes of paddy each
marketing year (October-September), out of which it wants to
keep 30 lakh tonnes of paddy for its own use. The state wants
the remaining quantity to be taken off its hands by the FCI
and converted into rice, an official said.
The Chief Minister said the state is incurring huge
losses on interest payments against loans from the Reserve
Bank for procurement of rice.
Singh also pointed out that the state does not have
enough storage capacity for surplus paddy.
"I urged Pawar to revive the past practice of the Centre
lifting surplus paddy from the state," he said, adding that
the Union Minister gave a sympathetic hearing to the plea.
Apart from this, Singh requested Pawar to expedite
setting up of a `biotic stress` research institute in the
state, for which in-principle approval was given earlier.
Singh also asked the Agriculture Minister to extend the
purview of the Rs 5,000 crore National Food Security Mission
to the remaining eight districts in the state. At present, 10
districts in Chhattisgarh are covered under the NFSM.