Assuring that there will be no shortage of foodgrains in Gujarat, the Food Corporation of India (FCI) on Wednesday said it has doubled the supply of foodgrains to the state during the lockdown and the state will receive 5.76 lakh metric tonnes of foodgrains free of cost till June 2020 under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana (PMGKAY).
“In Gujarat, we have a storage capacity of 6.5 lakh metric tonnes that is full now. We are keeping this stock as a buffer and are calling around 12,000 metric tonnes of foodgrains from other states on a daily basis, since the lockdown was announced. This is almost double the average 6,000 metric tonne of foodgrains that used to be supplied daily to Gujarat,” said Aseem Chhabra, General Manager (Gujarat), FCI.
These foodgrains — wheat and rice — come from various states. Wheat is being supplied by Punjab, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh, while rice is coming from Punjab and Haryana. The foodgrains are being transported to Gujarat through the Indian Railways, which is currently operating trains carrying freight.
The official said the foodgrains are being issued to the state government for distribution at an average of 12,000 MT per day wherein 600 trucks transport the stock from the 33 FCI depots across the state to 17,000 fair price shops. A staff of 1,500, including labourers, has been deployed in the state for transporting the stock.
“Total quota for Gujarat under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann yojana will be around 1.92 lakh metric tonnes per month,” Chhabra said adding 5.76 lakh metric tonnes of food grains will be sent to Gujarat till June.
During the lockdown period till April 7, 2020, Gujarat has already received 1.68 lakh metric tonnes has been supplied, the official added. When asked if the closed APMCs in Gujarat and other parts of the country will not have any adverse impact on the foodgrain supply chain, Chhabra said, “FCI has enough stocks to last 18 months, without a single grain being added. Secondly, Gujarat does not contribute heavily to the central pool of foodgrains.”
The Gujarat government said it will soon start distributing free rations to APL families in April. “During the cabinet meeting held today, it has been decided to extend the free rations to the remaining 60 lakh APL-1 families for the month of April,” said Ashwini Kumar, secretary to chief minister Vijay Rupani. The free rations to these families include 10 kg wheat, 3kg rice, one kg dal and one kg of sugar.
So far 66 lakh families covered under National Food Security Act were given free foodgrains by the Gujarat government from April 1. Then the state government gave rations to 3.4 lakh BPL families who were not covered under the NFSA and another 5 lakh families of migrant workers who are living in large cities and towns of the state, were also given free rations.
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