The government procures rice from farmers but due to inadequate warehousing facilities, huge amounts of the grain get putrefied lying in the open. In Maharashtra, grain is procured through the Tribal Development Commission, and 364,805 quintals of grains so procured are on the verge of putrefication owing to rains. This will deal a heavy monetary blow to not just the Commission but also the government.
It is to be noted that the Commission had procured huge amounts of grain from farmers in Gondia and Nagpur districts but rice mills have not yet taken the grain to their warehouses due to which these may get putrefied for nothing. Grain that was procured in 2010 is still lying in the open. Only at some places has the Commission made arrangements for tarpaulin sheets or makeshift sheds which are not going to help matters in case of a heavy downpour. In 2009-10 the Commission had procured 555,970 quintals of rice but the rice mills refused to take it owing to very low milling and transportation costs given to them.
In the last 3 years nearly 16,000 tons of rice has rotted. Given the malnutrition and poverty in India and in Maharashtra, why have grains been the subject of such criminal neglect? FCI has still not woken up to the gravity of the situation. It is only mulling over different ways of storing grains.
Due to lack of warehouses, 425,276 quintals of rice procured in 2010-11 was left in the open at numerous places from where it was bought. This time too, the rice mills have not taken the grain. Despite the paucity of warehouses and the grain procured in the last two seasons, the gover
nment still decided to procure another 450,861 quintals of rice in this financial year. Last year, owing to an announced increase in the milling charges, the mills had started the milling process but the government decision came too late and rains started. Due to the callousness of the government, 58,608 quintals of rice procured in 2011-12 is lying in open grounds in Gondia districts alone.
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS
The Food Corporation of India (FCI) too does not fare much better in this regard. In the last 3 years nearly 16,000 tons of rice has rotted. Given the malnutrition and poverty in India and in Maharashtra, why have grains been the
subject of such criminal neglect? The FCI has still not awakened to the gravity of the situation. It is only mulling over different ways of storing these grains. The primary reasons behind the putrefication of grains are presence of moisture, rodents, unscientific storage techniques, procurement of bad quality grains, lack of adequate space, negligence of workers, rains and lack of adequate transportation services.
According to sources, due to absence of adequate transportation, 0.47 per cent got wasted in 2010-11 and another 0.22 per cent rice was lost due to scattering. In terms of damage to procured rice, Maharashtra tops the list in the country. Keeping this in mind, the state government has ordered the construction of storage facilities with the
capacity of one lakh quintal each. Silos can hold 25,000 metric tons grains at once which is way more than how grains are stored now and this warrants a wholesale transition to this way of storage.
The central as well as the state governments have failed to take any concrete steps for putting an end to the criminal waste of grains even though the Supreme Court has pulled them up time and again. This is the reason that despite having an adequate supply of grains, the prices of basic commodities have shot up.