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STC floats global tender for 3 mln tons wheat import by Nov 30

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, May 14 (UNI) Amidst strong protests against imports, the government-owned State Trade Corporation has floated a global tender for purchase of three million tonnes of wheat ''fit for human consumption'' at zero import duty.

While the STC floated the global tenders for the wheat import on May eight fixing May 18 as the last date for receiving the bids, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) cleared the duty-free import on May nine.

The imports, to jack up the buffer stock, will be made by November 30 through the STC and the consignments must land at the ports including Nhava Sheva, Kandla, Kolkata, Chennai and Visakhapatnam.

Half of the total imports would land at the west coast while the other half would arrive at the east coast, official sources told UNI.

The government has drawn quite a lot of flak for its decision to import wheat. ''This is an effort to destroy the Green Revolution. In a matter of two months, India has become a net importer of wheat from one of the largest net surplus countries'', said Agricultural Policy Expert Devinder Sharma.

As per the terms of the tender, the cargo on arrival will be subject to inspection by the Indian phytosanitary authorities.

Even as the consignment of the earlier order has not landed as yet, the schedule for landing the fresh order would be as follows -- 500,000 tonnes in July; 800,000 tonnes in August; 800,000 tonnes in September and 900,000 tonnes in October.

The government has gone for imports to keep a check on the prices and to build buffer stock in the face of the almost stagnant production of wheat at 72 million tonnes. As against the Minimum Support Price of Rs 710 per quintal, the market price is quoting well above Rs 850 per quintal.

UNI PC RA DB1201

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