New Delhi: In a clear signal of adequate availability of wheat in the country, the buffer stock position for the food grain as on 1 April has more than doubled at over 50 lakh tonnes as against 20 lakh tonnes during the same period of 2006.
In fact, the wheat stocks have surpassed the stipulated buffer stock of 40 lakh tonnes by 10 lakh tonnes, putting the government in a comfortable position just when the procurement season has begun.
“Wheat stock with us is a little over 50 lakh tonnes as on date,” Food Corporation of India chairman and managing director Alok Sinha said.
Lower procurement of 92.26 lakh tonnes by the nodal agency FCI last year coupled with low buffer stock at the beginning of last fiscal had necessitated wheat import of 55 lakh tonnes.
Sinha was hopeful of meeting the procurement target of 151 lakh tonnes, taking the total wheat availability to over 200 lakh tonnes.
“The situation will be comfortable as our requirement for PDS and other social welfare schemes about 160 lakh tonnes,” Sinha said.
Commenting on media reports about private traders currently buying wheat at much more than the support price of Rs 850 per quintal, he said it is not true.
“In fact only 49,000 tonnes of wheat was lifted when FCI last month wanted to sell four lakh tonnes at Rs 986 per quintal in the open market,” he said.