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Grain storage draws flak

The Centre on Sunday added to the discomfiture of the state government by accusing it of not lifting foodgrain on time.

Union minister for consumers affairs, food and public distribution Ram Vilas Paswan, on his first visit to Patna after taking charge, attacked the state government for failing to lift foodgrain on time, poor storage and distribution of grains affecting the poor.

Paswan, on a two-day tour to Bihar, said he had met many underprivileged people in Hajipur who have not received foodgrain from public distribution system. The reason behind people not getting foodgrain in Bihar is mainly due to poor monitoring and execution of public distribution system in the state, he added.

Giving figures, the food and public distribution minister said: In the 2013-14 fiscal year, only 40 lakh tonnes of foodgrain was procured by the state government out of which 32 lakh tonnes of foodgrain was procured from other states while from Bihar, the government procured only 8 tonnes, which are very less.

He said the Bihar government had procured 8 lakh tonnes of paddy against the target of 30 lakh tonnes.

The Union minister blamed the Jitan Ram Manjhi government claiming that public distribution system in the state has neither storage facility nor distribution mechanism. In Bihar, the storage capacity is of 5.39 lakh tonnes, while the requirement is of 23.45 lakh tonnes of foodgrain.

However, state food and consumer protection minister Shyam Rajak denied the allegations made by the Union minister. Rajak told The Telegraph: The Union minister should first verify the records from his department, then make any statement. The FCI has failed to provide sufficient foodgrain to Bihar despite the state government making several pleas.

Rajak also said whenever the Bihar government demands foodgrain from the FCI, its officials only promise to deliver the foodgrain but never give it on time.