NEW DELHI: Mountains of food grains have been rotting in the godowns of the Food Corporation of India (FCI) every year. The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution has revealed that more than 38,000 metric tonnes (MTs) of food grains were damaged since the last five years.
The data, which was revealed by the Ministry to the Lok Sabha last week, showed that every year, more than 3,000 MTs of food grains, including rice, wheat and pulses, have been rotting in the FCI godowns or the Central Warehousing Corporation godowns, making it unusable and unfit for consumption by people.
In 2018-19, more than 52,13,360 kg of food grains were wasted or had rotten, causing an estimated loss of Rs 72,033,224.
According to officials of FCI, the food grains kept at the godowns sometimes get infested by pests; also, procurement of poor quality food grains or rains or flooding and sometimes mismanagement leads to losses and damages to the food grains kept at these godowns.
An FCI official, who did not wish to be named, said that the shortage of resources in terms of manpower and the lack of basic facilities at many of the godowns owned and managed by the FCI, also leads to much of the damage.
The official also pointed out that many of the FCI godowns have leakages during the rainy season which damages much of the stock. He also highlighted how, due to shortage of manpower for days, food grains are left outside and sometimes untimely rain destroys the food grains.
According to the data, 18847.65 MTs of food grains were damaged in 2014-15, 3155.68 MTs 2015-16, 8775.57 MTs in 16-17, 2663.49 MTs in 17-18 and 5213.36 MTs in 2018-19.
This damage of food grains has caused a cumulative loss of over Rs 484 million to the government exchequer.
However, the Ministry has told the Lok Sabha in a written reply that the government is taking steps to reduce the damage of food grains.
Steps that the Ministry is taking include spraying of pesticides, rat control, regular periodic inspection. The Ministry said that it is also following the “First in First Out” policy to the extent possible.