Bids for just 13 lakh MT storage space approved in Punjab

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Chandigarh, Feb 25 (PTI) Major shortage of space forstoring food grains may continue to haunt Punjab with HighLevel Committee headed by FCI Chairman approving creation ofjust 13 lakh Metric Tonne(MT) of storage space by privateentrepreneurs out of total bids received for 50.52 lakh MT.

"The (High Level) Committee has given nod for creationof 13 lakh MT of storage facilities in Punjab out of the totaloffers received," a senior FCI official told PTI.

The storage facilities, for which bids have beenaccepted, would come up in Sangrur, Faridkot, Mansa, Bathinda,Moga, Patiala and Fatehgarh Sahib, he informed.

Punjab, which has been facing shortage of storing almost80 lakh MT of foodgrain, had received a record 521 bids forthe sanctioned creation of 50.52 lakh MT of new storage spacelast year.

Central warehousing and state government had to buildfour lakh MT of storage facilities on their own out of the50.52 lakh MT.

The process of calling fresh bids for the remaining 33lakh MT of storage would start afresh and will take severalmonths before finalisation, official sources said.

Notably, it took over five months for the committee toapprove the current bids since the start of bidding processlast year, a senior official of Punjab Food and Civil Suppliesdepartment pointed out.

Low rate approved by Centre for creation of godownfacilities is said to be the main reason behind approvingmerely 13 lakh MT of new facilities out of 50.52 lakh MTcapacities.

Private entrepreneurs had quoted weighted average rateof Rs 6.20 per quintal per month as bid for storage creationagainst which the committee approved bids less than Rs 5 perquintal per month.

The committee accepted lower rate from offers and counteroffers despite the fact that Punjab government had asked it toaccept bids even at higher rate keeping in mind the hugedeficit in food grain storage capacity in the state.

�They (committee) have to understand the fact that theland prices in Punjab are quite high and it is not feasiblefor a private entrepreneur to build storage facility if hegets low rate,� asserted Punjab official.

He said there was an urgent requirement for creation ofbigger storage facilities to ensure smooth lifting of wheatand paddy. .

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