NewDelhi : The Odisha government is facing a new challenge. With rise in rice production and increased government procurement the State is facing severe scarcity of storage space.
As the State Government is getting ready for Custom Milled Rice (CMR) from the Millers by end of April for Rabi Season Procurement, Odisha’s Department of Food, Supply and Consumer Welfare sees the problem will only increase in the coming months.
Procurement of Rice in Rabi Season will be around 6.5 Lakh Metric Ton (LMT). However the Peak Level Requirement of space will be 9 Lakh Metric Ton (LMT) in the month of August, officials admit. However so much of space is not available in the state, which is causing worry for the State Officials. District wise Analysis of Procurement and Storage Capacity in the State reveals that , the ‘Rice Bowl of the State”, Bargarh, which produces 7.33 Lakh Metric Ton of Rice has hardly 67,000 MT of Storage Facility.
Kalahandi, which of late has turned the “Rice Bowl” after substantial irrigation facilities, is facing tough time due to paucity of Storage Space.While Production of Rice is over 3.47 Lakh Metric Ton, Storage is hardly over 39 000 Metric Ton. In addition to it there the requirement of Rice of over 96,000 Metric Ton under Public distribution System (PDS), officials admit.How the District Authorities will handle such a situation, where only 10 Percent of the Space for Resultant Rice is available.District of Koraput faces similar situation as production is over 1.36 Lakh Metric Ton, whi;e, Storage is hardly 29,000 MT. Ganjam District faces acute shortage of Space as District needs more space as requirement of Rice for PDS and Resultant Rice is 2.80 Lakh Metric Ton, while hardly 39,000 MT Space is available.
While storage space is a problem for all the Districts, however these are the example of some of the major rice producing districts, which are facing tough time due to non availability of storage space, admit officials.
Existing Godown space in the entire State is 6.37 Lakh Metric Ton (LMT) and demand is 9 LMT. Expansion Plan for Storage Space will be able to add over 1.75 LMT, both in Private and Government Sector. Under this backdrop, the State Government is expecting at least 8.2 Lakh Metric Ton Storage Space both in Public and Private Sector.
While the Odisha State Civil Supply Corporation (OSCSC) handles the Procurement of Paddy and Collection of Custom Milled Rice (CMR) from the Rice Millers is spending nearly Rs.85 Crore Per annum. Storage charges amounting Rs.57 Crore can be absorbed from the Central Government Subsidy, while over Rs.27 Crore is needed to be borne by the State Government, officials admit. With the OSCSC is in dire straits, the State Government will have to come to their rescue, pointed out officials.