NEW DELHI: India expects to double the capacity of silos under public-private partnership (PPP) by next year to 15 lakh tonnes as the government seeks to raise the nationwide holding count six-fold.
To be sure, land acquisition is a big challenge for the government’s ambitious plan of constructing 100 lakh tonne capacity of silos across the country. To maintain the quality of food grains, minimise losses and ensure rapid bulk movement of grains, the food ministry has taken up the task to construct modern silos for storage of wheat and rice.
“For every tonne of food grain to be sent to the consuming states, we are targeting to build capacity in the procuring states. Punjab, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh are the key producing states. To date, bids for constructing silos by the Food Corporation of India(FCI), Central Warehousing Corporation and state agencies have been cleared for 45 lakh tonne capacity,” said an official from FCI.
He said that the target was to have 30 lakh tonne capacity by 2020 and 50 lakh tonne by 2021. State governments of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Haryana are expected to come up with tenders by next month, said an official from the food ministry.
“New tenders to set up 21 lakh tonne silos in Punjab, 1.5 lakh tonne in UP, 3 lakh tonne in West Bengal and 6.5 lakh tonne in Haryana will come by October,” said the official.
Officials said that there was a delay in construction of silos owing to problem in procurement of land by private parties who have been sanctioned for construction of silos via the PPP mode. “We have kept the requirement for land at 11 acres. But with the requirement of a one kilometre long railway siding, so as to transport the grains by specialised rail wagons in bulk form, the land area has gone to 20-30 acres,” said the FCI official.
The official said that the railway ministry and state administrative officers were ensuring that requisite permission was given on time.
Silos are sheet-metal structures for storing foodgrain in bulk. With mechanisation and automation of operation, the government expects efficiency in the supply chain. Also, with real-time monitoring of grains in silos for grain temperature and infestation, the grain quality is expected to be good.