| Food and consumer protection minister Shyam Rajak inaugurates the godowns in Patna on Wednesday. Picture by Nagendra Kumar Singh |
Patna, Nov. 28: The state got 135 new godowns to store foodgrain in 28 districts today, but the facilities are too few to meet the storage requirement.
Food and consumer protection minister Shyam Rajak inaugurated the 135 godowns that would store 70,000 metric tonnes of grains. The present capacity to of the godowns is 4.95 lakh metric tonnes as against the required capacity of 44 lakh metric tonnes.
When The Telegraph asked Rajak about measures that the government has taken to solve the problem, he said: “With the inauguration of the 135 godowns, we have 442 warehouses. In the next two months, 140 more godowns will be made operational to preserve grains. It’s true we are facing a problem regarding godowns but we are doing our best to solve the issue.”
Every year, tonnes of undistributed food grains rot owing to scarcity of godowns in the state. Weak monitoring system, too, has affected the process from production to distribution.
Rajak added: “We are in the process of constructing 433 godowns, which would soon be ready. At present, we are taking the help of private godowns for preservation of grain.”
When the minister was asked about foodgrains going missing from godowns, he said: “We have decided to install CCTV cameras in 307 godowns. Now, we would be able to see live footage of the godowns on the Internet. There would also be infrared cameras to record the video at night. I can also check the recorded footage of the past one week. I am sure that this new monitoring system will check foodgrain leakage and other illegal activities in the godowns.”
On maintaining records of day-to-day today activities in godowns, Rajak said: “We have started a daily report system in which the officials send me mails everyday regarding volume of grain stored and how much foodgrain has been given to public distribution system (PDS) shops.”
On steps being taken to streamline PDS, Rajak said: “ The district magistrates (DMs) have been instructed to keep a tab on the middlemen involved in the distribution system. Every last week of the month, Food Day is observed in which the DMs depute their officials at every PDS shop to check the distribution system. The state vigilance department also keeps an eye on the distribution system.”