Amritsar: Food Minister KV Thomas on Wednesday inspected the Integrated Check Post (ICP) at Attari/Wagah border Amritsar and also visited the container terminal. He said that he was here to inspect the operation of ICP, especially trade with Pakistan.
In a press statement, he said he was here to interact with senior officials of Food Corporation of India and state government, as it is at the onset of Rabi marketing season.
He also held meeting with the local officials of FCI and other related department for smooth and speedy procurement of wheat supplied by farmers.
Appreciating the farmers of Punjab, he said that Punjab is the foodgrain bowl of nation, supplying the highest quantity of both rice and wheat.
"The production and procurement of wheat this year, I am told will be to the tune of 175 lakh tonnes and 140 LT, respectively. Procurement of 140 LT will be nearly 12 LT more than that of last year," he said.
The Minister further said that over the last two years the State had to face bigger challenge of storage of both wheat and rice on account of highly increased procurement of food grains on an all India basis.
"Last year we had to purchase 100 LT of wheat over that of the previous years. With states like Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and UP emerging as new wheat procuring areas the movement of stock from Punjab is getting effected.
"But I am happy to say that we have been able to move out/ distribute the entire additional quantity of 100 LT of wheat last year through export of nearly 30 LT and OMSS sale of 70 LT.
Congratulating FCI for helping Indian wheat earn a name in international market for its superior quality, he said: "the demand for India wheat is very high." He said: "We have been able to handle the entire operation of procuring, storing and transporting an unprecedented scale of food stock, with reduced incidences of damage and wastage of grains.
"Last year the total stock was to the tune of 82 million tonnes, which is expected to go up to 97 MT this year, as on July 1, while we have been able to reduce damage from 2.4 per cent to 0.007 per cent."
He along with his family members later paid obeisance in the sanctum sanctorum of the Golden Temple.