Punjab seeks more storage space on record wheat arrival



Chandigarh: Facing a severe space crunch, Punjab today asked the Food Corporation to create additional storage facility for 71 lakh tonne more of food grain and also to speed up the outbound movement of the procured grain.

These demands were raised by the state at a meeting with Food Corporation chairman and managing director Siraj Hussain here today who was touring Punjab and Haryana to inspect the ongoing wheat lifting.

"We have primarily demanded creation of additional storage space and movement of wheat and rice at a faster pace so as to use the space for storing fresh crop," state food supplies director DS Grewal told PTI today.

The demand assumes significance as the threat of storage crisis looms large in Punjab, with the state facing severe space crunch to store fresh crop due to the tardy movement of stocks to other states on top of the already existing lack of storage facilities.

The threat of storage crisis can also be gauged from the fact that the state's godowns are brimming with a whopping 167 lakh tonne wheat stock and 42 lakh tonne rice. Punjab at present has a total storage capacity of 184 lakh tonne only.

Punjab has also stressed on speedier outbound movement of stocks from the state. "We have asked them to ensure fast transfer of stock from the state," Grewal said.

Against the current movement of 12-14 lakh tonne, the state is demanding that it should be on a much higher scale so that the vacated space could be used for storing fresh crop.

Meanwhile, sudden heavy arrival of wheat to the markets has hit the lifting process. With wheat arrival reaching its peak, the daily arrival of crop has touched the highest mark of 9 lakh tonne against the state's capacity of lifting 4 lakh tonne a day.

"We have seen a record jump in daily arrival at 8-9 lakh tonne in comparison to our lifting capacity of 4 lakh tonne which has affected lifting exercise in the mandis," a senior official said. Farmers across the state are complaining of non-lifting of crop by state agencies.

Government agencies and private millers have procured 61.68 lakh tonne wheat so far from the state, with state agencies lifting 99 per cent of total arrival of crop.

-PTI