New Delhi: The Centre has chalked out a plan to attract about Rs5,000 crore investment from the private sector to build an additional storage capacity of 126 lakh tonnes of foodgrains in 2009-10.
“The tender for the creation of additional storage infrastructure will be issued this month by Food Corporation of India (FCI),” a senior government official said.
According to the plan, private companies will be given five-year guarantee for construction of warehouses and silos to raise the storage capacity in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, the official said.
The government would store foodgrains for five years after the construction is completed as it would help the private sector an assured business for a particular period, the official noted.
The move has come at a time when a large quantity of foodgrains procured by the Centre is lying in the open because of a space crunch.
According to the FCI data, as high as 140 lakh tonnes of wheat procured in 2008-09 season have not yet found a roof and are lying in the open in Punjab and Haryana.
Trade sources said the average cost of building a warehouse is about Rs4,000 per tonne capacity. So, the private sector would have to invest about Rs5,040 crore to create a storage capacity of 126 lakh tonnes, they added.
The storage capacity of FCI is 275.59 lakh tonnes, whereas the Central Warehousing Corp., a PSU under the food ministry, has a storage space of 105 lakh tonnes.
Between April and June, this year, the Centre has procured over 250 lakh tonnes of wheat. It also has purchased a record 326 lakh tonnes of rice in the current season.