Centre agrees to procure 50,000 MT of rice

Bhubaneswar: Appreciating supply chain management of the state under public distribution system, the Centre on Saturday assured the government that FCI would procure 50,000 metric tons of surplus rice from godowns next month. The assurance was given by Union food and public distribution secretary B C Gupta who reviewed the PDS mechanism in the state here.

"The FCI will lift 50,000 MT of rice from its godowns in June. Subsequently, surplus rice will be sent to other consuming states," Gupta told reporters. A central delegation visited the state five days after Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik sought Prime Minister Manmohan Singh`s intervention for moving at least one lakh MT rice every month from the state.

"Despite a request by the state and my food minister`s meeting with Union food minister, FCI has not moved a single grain from the state in April and May," the chief minister said in a letter to Manmohan Singh on May 21. Patnaik said as the FCI godowns were full, the state was facing difficulties in storing fresh procurements.

Gupta appreciated the state government`s supply chain management saying Odisha consumed its own rice after their procurement in the state. It required shifting of additional rice to other consuming states due to lack of space in the godowns for storing of new procurement.

The state has 60 FCI godowns having 6 lakh mt storage capacity and 270 other godowns of 4 lakh MT capacity. On the Centre agreeing to evacuate 50,000 MT of rice in June, state`s food and civil supplies secretary M S Padhi said, "Something is better than nothing. At last they have decided to create space in FCI godowns."

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