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Punjab Is Short Of 80 Lakh Tonne Wheat Storage Capacity: Kairon

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Punjab is short of 80 lakh tonne Wheat storage capacity: Kairon

Punjab Newsline Network

Friday, 21 January 2011

By Satinder Bains

CHANDIGARH: Adesh Partap Singh Kairon minister for Food and Civil Supplies and Information Technology Punjab on Friday said that Punjab was still short of 80 lakh tonnes of storage capacity for Wheat stocks.

Addressing meet the press programme at Press Club here, Kairon said that he was since long pleading for adequate and quality storage for Wheat but center government was not paying due attention to it. He revelaed that at national level the shortage of storage capacity is 120 lakh tonnes and 80 lakh tonnes shortage is in Punjab alone.

He said that he came to know that out of proposal submitted for 52 lakh tonnes storage only 4.50 lakh tonnes of godown capacity has bee approved. He said that Punjab government was not authorised to construct the godowns. He said that state government was left with no alternative that storing wheat in the open plinths. It effects nutrition value of the food, he added.

Kairon said that recent inflation in rates of essential commodities has many factors which included failure of crop and hike in Petrol rates. He however said that Punjab government was taking stiff measures to control the prices. He said that Punjab had about 4.50 lakh BPL families which comes around 9 percent of the total population. He said in neighbouring Haryana the BPL families number 27 percent. He ssaid both the states have similar conditions but the gap of 18 percent in BPL families was either something wrong with Punjab or Haryana. He said that the last census of BPL families was conducted in 2003 during Congress rule( Capt Amarinder Singh as Chief Minister) and only the planning commission can revise the list. He said that to cover the 18 percent families not covered under BPL scheme, the state government has issued blue cards and giving them subsidised Atta and Dal.

The minister said that center government was holding about Rs.600 crores money of Punjab government on account of bills submitted by Punjab for maintaining stocks of Wheat. He said that Punjab procures Wheat on behalf of FCI which has to pay the charges incurred by state on storage and maintenance. He said that since 2003 no balance sheet was drawn and center disputed the amount due to state.

He also said that Punjab government has evolved a system of transfering farmers payment to Ahrtiya's accounts within 48 hours of procurement and a transparent system is already in place. He said that every year procurement of about 35,000 crores is made and this money goes to rural economy which is circulated in consumer market.

Kairon said that huge stocks of variety 201 of paddy were lying in Bathinda and Mansa districts where farmers sowed the crop unproprotionally. He said that paddy 201 variety was approved by center government but its procurement faced problems.

Kairon said that he had worked to develop sheller industry in the state and about 500 shellers are added. He said that no shelling mill is sick in the state.

Kairon refused to answer political questions asked by scribes. To a question on Manpreet Badal's loss to party, he said that he cant speak on behalf of party but it is a personal loss to him. He also refused to elaborate.

He gave a cheque of Rs.five lakhs to Press Club.

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