Shortage of workforce to offload food grains from railway wagons and tardy lifting of food grain from its godowns are costing the Food Corporation of India (FCI) dearly, according to officials.

There are only 60 workers for offloading food grains, including rice and wheat, at its Mattanchery godown against the required 100.

Some of the private agencies contracted by the government for grinding wheat to flour too turn up late for lifting their consignments. One such agency has delayed the lifting of 60 loads of wheat from the godown, affecting the storage capacity for weeks together.

The delay in clearing the allotted stock affects the storage capacity. Goods wagons transporting food grains have to be held up in such circumstances, resulting in payment of demurrage to the railways. The Food Corporation of India paying demurrage to railways occurs across the country, he said.

Workers have started offloading food grains that had reached the Mattanchery godown. The process would be over by Thursday, he said.

The delay in offloading grains from the railway wagons will not impact the public distribution system as the shop owners take possession of their quota at least a month in advance. The Mattanchery godown had stocked grains beyond its capacity of 18,000 tonnes, including around 13,000 tonnes of rice, an official said.