Rs. 58,000 crore worth of food grains is allowed to rot in open-air storage in India every single year! – This was the official statement by the Union Agriculture Minister of India Sharad Pawar in the Parliament.
Obviously, the actual amount must be either two or three folds more as we all know every government estimated loss are announced lesser than the actual figures.
We, as the Nation have the audacity to waste such a huge amount of food grains because of our careless and callous attitude, when we, as the Nation have the highest malnutrition deaths (45 % infants from 0 to 6 years of age die because of malnutrition) in the world overtaking even dry African nations! It is indeed surprising how could our government achieve such massive deaths and yet allow food grains worth crores / billions to rot in open-air storage!
This wastage is a well-laid plan of the politicians so that their kith and kin’s distilleries can buy rotten food grains (raw materials) at the cheapest rate to convert them into high-end liquor to be served in all the Five-Star Hotels of the corporate magnates... In one way, one can say that even the ROTTEN FOOD GRAINS are being consumed by none other than the RICH and THE AFFLUENT, so why should they give to the poor... such is the state of manipulation of the corrupt politicians and corporate nexus! Deprive the poor food grains at all cost is the well-laid planned of GENOCIDE by the two...
So why should the Nation’s Ruling Government bother at all to create more storage godowns to safeguard food grains that our poor farmers slog in hot sun, high and low temperatures, and heavy rains with their sweat and blood to grow to feed the nation of billion plus population.
While the farmers of the nation are selling their wives to feed their children in Bundelkhand or succumbing to suicide in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharastra, Kerala, Punjab, Chattisgarh, Orissa and other states... the government instead of providing succour to the farmers’ community, are hell bent to see the extinction of the community in another two decades’ time, just like France is facing the extinction of farmers’ community.
Only 20 % of the total food grains produced by the nation are stored in closed / proper FCI (Food Corporation of India) godowns and the rest of the 80 % are stored in open-air... come rain, come rodents or seasonal dew, flood or whatever the case may be... food grains are on purpose stored so callously in the nation which is claiming the fastest Economic Growth story to lure foreign investors to satisfy their greed!
FCI godowns in Punjab were leased to Liquor traders to store their liquor while food grains were lying outside and allowed to rot during the rainy season... in Nagpur, rodents and insects in FCI godowns have wasted a huge amount of food grains as the rotten smell of food grains have created an unbearable atmosphere for the residents living near the FCI premise, almost in every state of India, food grains are rotting in the open under the very watchful eye of the FCI Govt officials... more surprising is the state of action that the government should take... the action by Manmohan Singh government is NO ACTION!
Even when the media reported the callous approach of the Nation and it was the Supreme Court (SC) who ordered the Agriculture Minister to distribute food grains to the poor instead of allowing it to rot. The Prime Minister came in to stand behind the Agriculture Minister to tell the SC that they should not interfere in Policy Making of the Government! Such an act from the Prime Minister of India, who should have immediately sack the minister and take some concrete step to stop the rotting of food grains worth 58,000 crores! What can you expect from the officials when the PM is supporting this callous act of wastage! The wastage continues as no one seems to be interested to build more storage godowns at war footing urgency!
The high level of corruption in government machinery has seen that in the last 64 years since the nation got its freedom, the government has not bothered at all to construct enough storage space to protect food grains. The nation whose economy was dependent on the Agriculture Sector, has (70 % of the population was dependent) never really bothered to support the sector, instead a well-laid plan to de-establish the sector by not providing basic infrastructure.
Right from Irrigation Infrastructure to Storage Infrastructure, the government policies have always delayed various farmers’ friendly projects in the nation... and the helplessness shown by the Prime Minister and respective ministers are all crocodile tears... the WILL to do better for nation’s benefits are lacking big time! Who does this nation belongs to? Why there is so much of loot going on and absolutely no one to STOP this catastrophe? Food shortage is not a natural catastrophe but the creation of the greedy lot, who are here to kill many-many millions of poor people by starving them to death, snatching away their fertile land for factories, airports and what not... depriving them of water for irrigation and drinking...
I still very much remember my first day in Vidarbha...April 16th 2010, I was travelling by bus from Nagpur to Wardha and I was really surprised to see so many concrete buildings, educational institutes, factories, malls and industrial zones standing tall in the fertile lands... I wondered then, why no one has ever thought that tomorrow when all the fertile lands will be turned into a concrete jungle, from where will our children and grand children get their food!
Through this series – WHAT THE FARMERS NEED? - I have been able to generate awareness among the locals that farmers’ need have been overlooked since ages and the farmers’ community have been neglected to the highest degree. Once India was an agriculture based economy, today it is the economy of the corrupt looters.
Each one of us knows there are lapses from the government’s side and yet, we have been quiet because we really don’t care about the next person out there dying of hunger and poverty. While the farmers have been selflessly feeding the nation, the government policies have never really helped the poor farmers and yes, even the society at large have not been giving farmers the due they deserve so much for feeding the billion plus nation.
In the year 2010-2011 period India has had bumper food grains production but without proper godowns to store all the grains, the year will also result in heavy losses to food grains rotting in FCI open-air godowns... while the Foreign Minister SM Krishna goes and gifts Myanmar 10 new disaster-proof rice silos with a 5000-tonne storage capacity in June 2011, while the food grains in our own nation are allowed to rot in the open...
One can really write a whole book on the failure of the respective ruling governments to create enough storage space since the last 64 years to safeguard food grains and not allow it to rot in the open-air storage. Below is an abstract of the National Policy of storage of food grains (only on paper) while on grounds food grains worth crores are rotting in every state with no one really bothering to stop these huge wastage on a National level!
National Policy on Handling and Storage of Foodgrains
5.45 Post harvest losses of foodgrains are a serious problem. A 5 per cent loss would imply loss of 10 million tonnes of foodgrains annually. In order to reduce storage and transit losses at farm and commercial level, and to modernise the system of handling, storage and transportation of foodgrains in India, a National Policy on Handling and Storage of Foodgrains has been announced this year.
The main thrust of the policy is:—
(i) declaration of food grains storage as infrastructure,
(ii) encouragement of mechanical harvesting, cleaning and drying at farm and market level,
(iii) transportation of grains from farm to silos by specially designed trucks,
(iv) construction of chain silos at receipt as well as distribution points,
(v) encouraging private sector for building storage capacities in which grains procured by Government agencies would be stored on payment of storage charges,
(vi) encouraging private sector for development of infrastructure for the integrated bulk handling, storage and transportation of food grains.
.... to be continued...