New Delhi: Government on Friday termed as "quite exaggerated" reports on rotting of foodgrains and said a master plan has been prepared to increase storage space.
"All reports on rotting of foodgrains are not actually correct and quite exaggerated. There are only certain cases of damage and we have suspended some officials," Food Minister
Shard Pawar told the Rajya Sabha.
Pawar made the remark two days after conceding in the House that the rotting of foodgrains was a "shameful" fact. He had said that over 11,700 tonnes of foodgrains worth Rs 6.86 crore were found "damaged" in government godowns.
During Question Hour, Pawar said the government has prepared a comprehensive plan to create 149.4 lakh tonnes of storage space to prevent damage of foodgrains. These will be built by Food Corporation of India (FCI) through private entrepreneurs and central and state warehousing corporations.
The deadline for completion of construction of godowns for private entrepreneurs would be one year, while that of godowns with railways sidings would be two years from the date of agreement, he said.
Tenders invited under a new scheme for construction of godowns will be processed fast, he said.
Pawar also said that the government is taking other steps to enhance storage capacity of food grains with special emphasis on North Eastern region.
FCI, the nodal agency for the procurement and distribution of foodgrains, had 57.8 million tonnes in its godowns at the start of this month. However, as per buffer norms, it should have had 31.9 million tonnes as on July 1.