Chandigarh, July 16 (IANS) Several thousand tonnes of wheat has been lying unattended in food corporation godowns in Haryana, with the grain turning black with mildew after getting soaked in the rain, officials said on Tuesday.
An employee in a depot said tonnes of wheat stored in the open in the Bhiwani grain market was damaged in the past two days owing to rains.
A visit to a large number of markets in Ambala, Yamunanagar, Jind, Hisar and Rohtak revealed that procured food grain is lying in the open under tarpaulins despite several parts witnessing flooding.
Trade analysts say the wheat stocks could have been damaged this year too.
In the state, the wheat procurement by state agencies has surpassed last year’s level – 90 lakh tonnes of wheat against 74.25 lakh tonnes last year.
This season, the state is facing a problem of a glut of mustard, resulting in procured wheat lying in the open owing to space shortage, say officials.
“Since the government warehouses have been brimming with mustard, we are forced to store the wheat in the open,” a Haryana Warehouse Corporation official, requesting anonymity, admitted to IANS.
“The procurement of mustard was never done on such a large scale in the past. Eyeing the Lok Sabha elections and to woo the farmers, the government went overboard in procuring mustard as much as it can,” a Food and Supplies Department Officer in Karnal said.
Compared to last year, this time there has been up to a 150 per cent rise in the procurement of mustard in Haryana, he added.
Officials say the main reason for the rot of tonnes of food grains in Haryana every year is storage in ‘covered and plinth (CAP)’ area in open spaces.
As per Food Corporation of India guidelines, food grains must be stored in covered warehouses and silos and CAP should be resorted to only during peak procurement seasons.
Opposition parties have called the rotting grain a scandal.