50 lakh metric tons of wheat and pulses to rot this monsoon

June 13, 2018

 

 Over 50 lakh metric tons of freshly procured wheat and pulses are waiting to rot in the open in Madhya Pradesh this monsoon.

The state government has already acquired more than 150 lakh metric tons of wheat and pulses while the procurement process is still going on. According to an estimate, the overall procurement is likely to touch 180 lakh metric ton mark, while the storage capacity is for just 134 lakh metric tons.

Monsoons have already arrived in MP and close to 50 lakh metric tons of wheat and pulses are lying in open. Pre-monsoon showers have destroyed the freshly procured produce in many parts of the state including Narsinghpur, Hoshangabad, Raisen, Rajgarh, Sehore and Vidisha.

Dr. Hitesh Vajpayee, Chairman, Food and Civil Supplies Corporation, while accepting that a significant part of the freshly procured produce is likely to stay in the open during monsoon said, “We have a storage capacity of around 134 lakh metric tons and this includes both government and private warehouses. We have already exhausted our limits but are trying to store the produce wherever possible. There have been instances when we have transported the freshly obtained items to as far as 200 km away from the procurement centre.”

On why the government could not prepare itself before the procurement process started, Vajpayee said, “This year it is not just wheat, we had made arrangements for storing it. However, grams, masoor and mustard were also given under minimum support price so we had to procure that as well which led to this situation. Had pulses been a part of the Bhavantar Bhugtan Yojana, we would not have been required to procure them and this situation would not have arisen.”

CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan had announced the BBY after massive corruption was reported during the procurement of onions under the MSP scheme last year. BBY was aimed at minimising the scope for corruption, but farmers did not get their due on time leading to widespread distress.

Chouhan included pulses under the MSP umbrella to cut the widespread distress that could impact his fortunes in an election year.

“If there is no storage facility available for more than 50 lakh tons of wheat and pulses then what is the guarantee that it won’t be passed on to the middlemen as happened in the case of onions last year? The government has already paid for this and by the end of monsoon, they will say it got destroyed in the rain,” spokesman Manak Aggarwal said.

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