Uttam Kumar Reddy Asks Officials to Expedite Rice Delivery to FCI

Hyderabad: Food and civil supplies minister N. Uttam Kumar Reddy on Monday directed officials to fast track rice delivery to the Food Corporation of India (FCI) to meet the deadline of January 31.

The minister, along with chief secretary A. Santhi Kumari, civil supplies commissioner D.S. Chauhan and other officials, addressed a video conference from his office in Dr B.R. Ambedkar Secretariat with district collectors, civil supplies corporation, and FCI officials, focusing on expediting milling of custom-milled rice by rice millers and its delivery to the FCI.

Expressing serious concern over pending custom milling of rice from the civil supplies department to the FCI, Uttam Kumar Reddy mentioned his recent visit to Delhi, where Government of India officials complained about Telangana state asking for large rice allocations but underperforming on deliveries. He emphasised the need for the civil supplies corporation to supply 7.83 lakh metric tonnes of rice for rainy season by January 31 and 35 lakh metric tonnes of rice for the Yasangi season. This requires all Telangana millers to deliver around 42 lakh metric tonnes of rice in the coming weeks, a commitment currently facing a significant gap.

The minister highlighted the civil supplies corporation’s substantial loans taken to procure paddy from farmers and delivered it to millers. Recovering this investment depends on millers delivering rice to the FCI in the required quantity and quality. Such delays, however, have caused significant losses for the corporation, now burdened with over Rs 58,000 crore debt and Rs 11,000 crore losses in the last 9-10 years. Additionally, it bears an annual interest burden of nearly Rs 3,000 crore. Uttam Kumar Reddy emphasised the futility of millers holding onto large stocks without timely delivery of rice.

He warned that frequent delays or inability to deliver the prescribed quantity of custom-milled rice to the FCI could have serious consequences for future allocations to Telangana. He stressed the need for system improvement and process streamlining to ensure timely delivery of rice to the FCI.

Appealing to district collectors and officials, Uttam Kumar Reddy called for prioritising rice delivery due to its importance for farmers, state finances, and the future of the civil supplies corporation. With only 21 days remaining before the deadline, he proposed setting daily targets to achieve the goal.

Additionally, Uttam Kumar Reddy expressed serious concern about the poor quality of PDS rice. He noted that rice procured by the Centre and state at Rs 39 per kg is being recycled or diverted for other purposes. Terming PDS rice “sacred,” he stressed its importance in reaching the poorest. The minister also addressed a complaint he received from ration shop owners regarding receiving 4-5 kgs less rice per bag and instructed authorities to investigate the matter. Meanwhile, Santhi Kumari, D.S. Chauhan, and other officials interacted with district collectors, enquiring about targets and achievements in each district.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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