Uttar Pradesh: Wheat Rots & Traffic Crawls in Rain Chaos

This is an article which appeared in Mail Today…. Dated 7/7/2010 By Akash Vashishtha in Ghaziabad

Tonnes of wheat left to rot in the rain at FCI’s godown in Hapur after UP govt fails to pick it up. IT IS perhaps the most tragic irony. While thousands of people in the country struggle to manage one square meal a day, tonnes of wheat rot in a godown because of the rain and government apathy. Around 4.5 lakh sacks of wheat estimated to be worth over Rs 25 crore were damaged at the Food Corporation of India ( FCI) godown at Hapur in Ghaziabad. Reason: the stock was unprotected from the downpour in the area in the past few days.

Ghaziabad district magistrate ( DM) Hridesh Kumar said: “ We were informed by the public about a huge loss to the wheat stock at the FCI godown. We conducted a check and sent our tehsildaar to ascertain the loss and verify any laxity on the part of officials in managing the wheat that was dumped in the open.” The DM, however, refused to confirm the extent of damage.
“ We cannot tell the exact quantity of wheat damaged. It is the FCI’s internal matter. We have written to their general manager in Lucknow about this,” Kumar said.
On the DM’s orders, a surprise check was conducted at the FCI warehouse located on Hapur- Meerut Road by tehsildaar Brij Kishore Dubey, regional supply officer S. P. Singh and FCI area manager D. K. Bhaskar.
The officials noted that a huge stock of wheat kept outside the godown was damaged in the wake of heavy rain in past few days. Instead of being kept inside the godown in the monsoon, the stock was strewn around in the open and was not even covered by sheets, district administration officials said.
Sources in the FCI said after the stock was transported from Punjab in early June, it could not be kept inside as the godown was facing acute shortfall of labour.

“ About 10,157 metric tonnes of wheat was to be given to the state government according to the release orders on July 2, but the UP government did not lift the stock. This led to the stock pile- up and also caused inconvenience to the corporation,” an FCI official said.
The FCI, however, was quick to go into a denial mode. “ There has been no impact of the rain. There are no losses. All our stock is well- maintained,” Bhaskar said.
Sources said the stock was of superior quality and each wheat sack was priced over Rs 1,200 in the general market. Most of the stock was damaged because of prolonged exposure to moisture.


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