Delhi to bring back low-price fortified wheat in markets

With a huge wheat harvest across North India and massive pile-up of stocks in godowns not resulting in a drop in the price of flour, the Delhi Government has decided to step in yet again with the sale of its “Bhagidari atta” for providing people with wheat flour at a reasonable price.

Delhi Food & Civil Supplies Minister Haroon Yusuf, who had a meeting with several mill owners on Monday, said the Government would be reintroducing its wheat flour scheme through a tender process for which the request for quotation (RFQ) would be issued in a week or 10 days.

“The scheme is likely to be launched from mid-July or early August depending on when the tendering process gets over. The tender document would specify that the bidders would have to procure the wheat through the open market sale scheme (OMSS) of the Government of India,” he said.

Stating that the scheme first launched in 2009 was a raging success as nearly 2.20 lakh tonnes of wheat flour was sold through it over two years, the Minister said it was due to the great demand for this scheme that the Government has again decided to revive it after a gap of about six months.

While the sale price of wheat had been kept at Rs.139 for 10 kg the last time round the scheme was launched in November 2009, Mr. Yusuf said this time the rates have still not been decided. But he assured that in keeping with the objective of the scheme to lessen the financial burden on the common man, the flour would be very reasonably priced.

For wheat distribution, the Government would be pressing trucks into service and they would undertake the sale in every Assembly constituency. “Three points would be identified in each of the 70 Delhi Assembly segments and apart from that all the 70 premises of the State Food & Civil Supplies Department, 14 of the National Consumer Cooperative Federation and 80 outlets of Kendriya Bhandar will be used for sale of wheat flour.”

The Minister added that the wheat flour would be fortified and iron and folic acid added to it during the grounding process. He said a number of conditions have also been specified in the tender to ensure optimal quality. “Flour mills would be required to maintain specified levels of cleanliness, they would need to own laboratories to carry out sample tests of every batch of wheat and to get various clearances.”

Incidentally, Delhi had last introduced the scheme when the price of flour crossed Rs.20 per kg in the retail market. Even now the price in the open market is in the range of Rs.20 to Rs.22 per kg.

For cutting down the costs of flour production, the millers had then resorted to extracting up to 92 kg of flour from 100 kg of wheat by maintaining high level of healthy fibre in it as against the norm of producing around 87 kg from 100 kg of wheat.

Scheme to start from mid-July or early August

Exact price yet to be decided; aims to lessen burden on common man