Augment storage capacity for rice: CM

Bhubaneswar: Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik met the Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Prof. K.V. Thomas, in New Delhi on Tuesday to apprise the Centre about the inadequate storage capacity especially for rice in the state. The CM stressed that the existing combined storage capacity of Food Corporation of India (FCI) and Odisha State Civil Supplies Corporation (OSCSC) in Odisha is grossly inadequate when viewed against the quantum of paddy procured annually in the range of 25 lakh Mts to 30 lakh MTs. He stated that even the existing limited capacity of FCI does not get fully utilized for storing rice as FCI godowns remain filled with wheat throughout the year. This seriously affects the capacity of the State to receive Custom Milled Rice during the Kharif Marketing Season, he stated. Naveen stressed that there is an urgent need to augment the storage capacity in the State to ensure uninterrupted implementation of Public Distribution System (PDS) and other development programmes.

Naveen informed Thomas that the Odisha State Civil Supplies Corporation has been procuring over 80% of the total paddy each year in contrast to most other States where the said operation is largely conducted by FCI at huge cost on account of large scale operations required. Odisha State Civil Supplies Corporation needs to be incentivised for their efficient operations and saving huge resources of FCI, he stated. Such an incentive will enable Odisha State Civil Supplies Corporation to improve the logistics of storage and to strengthen pro-farmer activities. The CM also informed the Union Minister that the list of 174 Poorest Districts, identified in the country for providing additional foodgrains as per the orders of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, does not include Gajapati, despite it being one of the poorest districts in the country in respect of almost all social and economic indicators. In view of the above needs of the State, the CM urged the Union Minister to
 
1.    Expedite approval for creation of additional 90,000 MTs of storage capacity under the Private Entrepreneurship Guarantee (PEG) Scheme;
2.    Extend the date for receiving Custom Milled Rice (CMR) up to 31.3.2012 for the Kharif Marketing Season, 2010-11;
3.    Support Odisha State Civil Supplies Corporation for their efficient operations in procuring over 80% of the total of paddy by providing 2% incentive; and
4.   Add Gajapati District, in addition to the 18 Districts of Odisha, to the identified list of 174 Poorest Districts so that the benefit of BPL/ AAY rice allocated by government of India on the orders of the Hon’ble Supreme Court could be availed of by the poorest in the District.

Thomas assured the CM that the High Level Committee will meet in the next two weeks to consider and approve the proposal of the State for creation of additional 90,000 MTs of storage capacity. The Union Minister also promised to extend the time for receiving Custom Milled Rice for Kharif Marketing Season, 2010-11 up to 31.3.2012. He suggested that the Odisha State Civil Supplies Corporation can take advantage of the higher incentive of 2.5% by involving Cooperative Societies in the procurement process. The Union Minister also agreed to include Gajapati District in addition to the 18 districts of Odisha already approved in the identified list of Poorest Districts in the country for providing additional foodgrains, as per the orders of the Hon’ble Supreme Court. Furthermore, the Union Minister assured the Chief Minister that the Union Food Secretary shall visit Odisha shortly to take stock of all pending issues.