New Delhi: A day after the Supreme Court asked the central government to deal with the problem of foodgrains rotting in warehouses, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar Friday said the government was taking "appropriate action" and was in the process of setting up new storage facilities.
"The government, the FCI (Food Corporation of India) has taken the responsibility of new godowns and is also introducing tenders. We`ve set time-frames also," Pawar told Rajya Sabha when asked about the construction of modern storehouses in view of huge amounts of grains being wasted in the absence of adequate facilities.
"We are also visiting godowns where grains are being wasted and will take appropriate action." he said.
Pawar added that his ministry is asking the state governments to lease or provide land for setting up new warehouses for storage.
Pawar admitted that there there had been no reduction in the prices of some products, but stressed that the government was "still trying its best to control them".
Pawar, however, added that the interests of the poor are being taken care of as the basic commodities are still being sold to people below the poverty line at prices agreed in 2002.
The Supreme Court Thursday said that the government could consider increasing the quantum of food supply to the population Below Poverty Line (BPL), open the fair price shops for all 30 days in a month and distribute foodgrains to the deserving population at a very low cost or no cost.
According to an estimate, 17.8 million tonnes of food grain, which can feed 140 million people for a month, is being wasted because of shortage of storage facilities.
Against this backdrop, the Supreme Court suggested that the government distribute food free of cost to the poor rather than let it go waste.