KOZHIKODE: Ration dealers have said there is no justification for stopping distribution of ration rice to card-holders above poverty line (APL) since all godowns of Food Corporation of India (FCI) are overflowing with rice and wheat, the All Kerala Retail Ration Dealers Association has said.
According to association’s State secretary T. Mohammed Ali, while the aggregate storage capacity of the 20 FCI godowns in the State is 4,72,443 metric ton, these godowns have at present a total stock of 4,76,016 metric tons consisting of 26,20,507 metric tons of rice and 2,31,509 metric tons of wheat.
Besides, new stocks of these food grains are on their way. These would also have to be stocked in verandah of the godowns since the godowns are already full.
Mr. Mohammed Ali also said food grains that had piled up in FCI godowns would get spoiled if the entire stock was not distributed among card holders.
Distributing the entire lot had become difficult since it had been decided not to give ration rice to APL group of card holders.
The government would have to spend heavily to protect food grains from pests, he said.
Mr. Mohammed Ali claimed a portion of the food grains kept in godwons “is sure to get damaged” during the ongoing monsoon season.
Food for work
The government had to introduce food for work schemes to overcome such problems in the past. It had also to sell the rice by auction.
There had also been even proposals in the past dump excess rice and wheat in the sea.
Since both storage and disposal of food grains meant for distribution through ration shops would be a financial burden , State government should take steps to distribute it among card holders before Onam season, the association’s State general secretary.