Union Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution K.V. Thomas has said that thrust will be given in developing additional storage capacity in the State for food grains in view of the implementation of the Food Security Bill.

He was speaking at a ‘Meet-the-Press’ programme here on Wednesday. The Minister said that two new godowns of the Food Corporation of India (FCI) with 5,000 tonnes capacity each were getting ready in Wayanad and Thodupuzha and another 10,000 tonnes one in Pathanamthitta.

The tender proceedings for two silos of 25,000 tonnes each in Kochi and Kozhikode are on.

“The existing FCI godowns in the State have a capacity to store food grains for four months. We don’t have intermediate godowns in the district or taluk level. These new ones could add much to the existing capacity,” said Mr. Thomas.

Another area of focus according to Mr. Thomas is the transparency of the system and plugging of leakages.

“One of the aims of the Bill is to improve the existing Public Distribution System (PDS) by increasing the transparency. Right now, the leakages are pegged at around 35 per cent nation-wide.

Even in States such as Kerala where it is having a better performance, the leakages are to the tune of 20 to 25 per cent which is preventing those who deserve the benefits from availing it. This will be plugged by the new system that will make use of computerised networks and Aadhaar cards for delivery,” he said.

Local bodies will conduct social auditing of the implementation process and will check the quality and quantity of the grains delivered. Self-help groups such as Kudumbasree will also be involved in this process. A complaint redressal forum which will have the powers of a civil court will ensure accountability at the ground level, he said.

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