Heaps of food grains are rotting in Food Corporation of India (FCI) godowns across the country due to apathetic attitude of the authorities concerned, reveals a right to information (RTI) query.
The finding shows that as on Jan 1 this year, 10,688 lakh tonnes of food grains were found damaged in FCI depots, enough to feed over six lakh people for over 10 years.
Between 1997 and 2007, 1.83 lakh tonnes of wheat, 6.33 lakh tonnes of rice, 2.20 lakh tonnes of paddy and 111 lakh tonnes of maize were damaged in different FCI godowns.
'The FCI godowns have enough space to store food grains properly. Yet the grains are rotting in open spaces on their premises while millions are starving. It's a national shame,' said Dev Ashish Bhattacharya, who filed the RTI application on January 6, 2010.
The storing capacity of covered godowns of FCI is around 256.64 lakh tonnes and the total stored stock is around 218.35 lakh tonnes.
This being the overall status, the region-wise data across the country show startling facts that the stocks in FCI covered depots are less as compared to their storage capacities.
In northern region, the total capacity of FCI's covered godowns is 127.48 lakh tonnes, while only 111.22 lakh tonnes of food grains are stored in the region.
In southern region, the total capacity of the covered godowns is 57.39 lakh tonnes while the total stock comes up to 54.24 lakh tonnes.
In the eastern region, the total covered godowns are 23.99 lakh tonnes and the stocks held is just 17.10 lakh tonnes.
In the northeast, 4.48 lakh tonnes can be stored but the available grains are 3.50 lakh tonnes.
The westen region statistics reveal that 43.30 lakh tonnes are the available total covered godowns capacity and the available stocks are just 32.29 lakh tonnes.
'FCI godowns have enough capacity to store large amounts of food grains. Why don't they stock the food grain and why there is a huge quantity of food grain damage? While lakhs of people are starving, the government should be squarely blamed for the mismanagement of foodstock,' said Bhattacharya.