50,000tn of wheat from Punjab sent for export to FCI godowns

Chandigarh: With the Centre gearing up to export wheat to other countries, as much as 50,000 tonne of wheat from Punjab has been sent to FCI godowns at ports in Gujarat for export, which may slightly ease state`s storage crisis.

Apart from this, 20,000 tonne of wheat will soon be sent to three ports at Mundra, Pipavav and Kandla in next 7-10 days by the Food Corporation of India (FCI).

"We have already dispatched fresh wheat crop for 2012-13 year produced in Punjab to ports which is meant for exports only," a FCI official said here today.

About 40,000 tonne of wheat stock has been sent to Mundra port and rest to Kandla port from where the wheat will be shipped, he said.

FCI has its depot at Gandhidham in Kandla and it has hired a private depot at Mundra for storing the crop.

"Now, we have also decided to send 20,000 tonne of another lot to these ports for export from Punjab," he said.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs had last month allowed 2 million tonne of wheat exports from its godowns to ease storage problem.

State-owned trading firms have received a total of 32 bids for their wheat export tenders for 2.4 lakh tonne so far.

The Punjab government has been strongly demanding to evacuate food grain from the state through allowing export to other countries in the wake of overflowing warehouses.

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had even demanded that wheat should be exported from the states on the proportion on which grain stock was lying with the respective states.

The Union Food Ministry had in the month of May sought samples of wheat crop from Punjab to ensure the crop, which may be exported, was free of `Karnal bunt` disease.

Wheat procurement from Punjab this year reached a record level of over 128 lakh tonne on the back of bumper output.

However, about 30-35 lakh tonne of freshly harvested crop was stored in an unscientific manner as state still faces shortage of 40-45 lakh tonne of food grain against the present capacity of 100.6 lakh tonne of covered space and 105 lakh tonne of CAP.

FCI has still 165 lakh tonne of wheat and 66 lakh tonne of rice in its godowns.