A layer of damp wheat covers the floor of the FCI godown. Picture by Prashant Mitra
Ranchi, June 23: First, inflation ate in to the daily diet of millions of people. Then came the recent floods, making thousands go without food. Now, Food Corporation of India (FCI) is clearing up whatever is left.
With the poor struggling to get a square meal a day, foodgrain at the storage depot of the FCI in Chutia is rotting.
The Telegraph today visited the depot and saw that a huge amount of grains at the Chutia godown, about half-a-kilometre from the railway station, had rot. The employees there were struggling to save the foodgrain by taking it out of the sacks and spreading it on the floor to dry.
Sources said around 11,000 bags of foodgrain have decayed. “Fungi can be seen on some of the wheat bags. We are trying to save the grains but it is a difficult task,” a labour at the godown said.
FCI officials gave varying reasons for the rot. One employee in the godown said rainwater entered the godown through the ventilators and the grains were destroyed. Another said mismanagement in handling the foodgrain was responsible for the rot.
“About 22,000 bags of wheat reached Ranchi railway station on Monday but could not be transported here because of lack of co-ordination with transporters. It rained that day and the wheat sacks were drenched. Now the wheat is so bad that it cannot be utilised by the public distribution system,” said an official at the FCI depot in Chutia.
The chief of the FCI depot, R.K. Singh, refused comment while FCI general manager Anurag Gupta said commenting would be inappropriate as the matter was under investigation.
“This is first time we have received such a complaint from our depot in Chutia. We are investigating and something can be said only after proper investigation,” the general manager said.
An employee of FCI said the godown was constructed to keep out water accumulating on the ground. “The depot is 6ft feet above the ground and rainwater cannot seep inside,” he added.
But water seeping in through the ventilator system was probably something they never thought about.
The depot can hold 11,670 metric tonnes of foodgrain for supply to the State Food Corporation (SFC) depots at Ranchi and Chaibasa. The depot also provides foodgrain for the army’s consumption here. The average supply of foodgrain from the depot is 20 tonnes per day. The grains are used to supply to the poor through public distribution system. More than 161 people man the storage facility.