NEW DELHI: On Thursday, while finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman was announcing free foodgrains for the poor, Food Corporation of India (FCI) officials in Punjab were trying to load 30 rakes, each carrying over 2,500 tonnes of wheat and rice, to ensure that there was no shortage of the two commodities after the Centre’s intervention to ensure that 80 crore poor get additional 5kg each month free of cost.
By the end of the day, they managed to do close to 20 rakes, using the manpower and railway wagons that was at their disposal, to transport the grains to “deficit states”.
FCI officials said barring a handful of states such as Himachal Pradesh and Meghalaya, where it is tough to create large storage facilities, almost all other states have stocks of foursix months. While J&K is wellstocked, Ladakh has wheat and rice that can last nine to 12 months, sources told TOI.
With nearly 37 lakh tonnes of pulses stocked by government agencies, the Centre can supply 1kg pulses per family every month for over a year. The distribution will cost the government Rs 5,000 crore.