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Grain silos on rail land: Ministries set deadline to expedite process

The decision was taken at a meeting between Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan and Railways Minister Piyush Goyal on Tuesday — the first meeting at this level on the issue.

Written by Harikishan Sharma | New Delhi | August 12, 2020 2:13:57 am
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The plan to build silos and godowns for foodgrains on surplus land owned by the Railways is gaining pace, with the Food and Railways ministries setting a 15-day deadline for completing joint inspection of land required.

The decision was taken at a meeting between Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan and Railways Minister Piyush Goyal on Tuesday — the first meeting at this level on the issue.

According to sources, the meeting discussed the progress on the 87 locations for silos provided by the Food Corporation of India (FCI) to the Railways, to be built at an estimated cost of Rs 1,900 crore on public-private partnership basis, with a capacity to hold 29 lakh metric tonnes (LMT).

“Out of the 87 locations, land has been identified at 36, and joint inspection carried out at 24 of those 36,” said a source, adding that the identified land is located close to railway stations. At the meeting, it was decided that the inspection of the rest of the locations would be completed within 15 days. “We hope to finalise at least 100 sites,” the source said, adding that with ministers themselves taking over the matter, progress was likely to be faster.

Apart from the FCI’s list of 87 locations, Railway Board officials had forwarded a list of 63 locations owned by Northern and Western Railway for the purpose. However, the FCI had said there was no requirement for silos at most of these locations, an official at the Food Ministry said.

In addition to the FCI, Central Railside Warehouse Company Ltd (CRWC), a PSU under the Food Ministry, had sent a list of 21 locations for creating storage capacity of total 2.8 LMT. “The Railways has given positive indication regarding two locations (Gandhidham, Gujarat, and Sankrail, West Bengal),” the source said.

After the meeting, Goyal tweeted, “Held a meeting with Minister @irvpaswan ji and discussed ways to utilise surplus railway land for construction of food storage infrastructure. These steps will pave the way for enhanced storage of foodgrains, leading to better agriculture supply chain & more gains for farmers.”

Paswan said, “… our storage capacity will increase significantly and not a single grain of foodgrain will be wasted, which is the thinking of the Prime Minister also.”

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