New Delhi: After having locked horns over several issues, the Centre and the Uttar Pradesh government yet again struck a discordant note over the procurement of wheat in the Rabi season.

The UP government has sought the interest from the Food Corporation of India (FCI) over the delay in the payment of wheat procured by its agencies. Shifting the ball in the State government’s court, the FCI has raised questions over the quality of wheat procured by the state agencies.

Sources said the UP Food and Civil Supplies Minister Ram Prasad Chaudhary has made complaint with the Union Minister (Independent Charge) of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, KV Thomas about the errant behavior of FCI.

Chaudhary argued, “The agencies, which are reeling under acute financial crisis, take loans from the banks to procure wheat, and owing to the delay in payments by FCI they have to return an additional amount to the banks.”

The State Minister strongly advocated the need for an advance payment to the agencies for the further procurement of food grains.
According to state authorities, 35 lakh tonne wheat has been procured under the Price Support Scheme in the Rabi season for the ongoing fiscal. The FCI has not even provided the receipt of wheat worth Rs 424 crore handed over by the state agencies.

Meanwhile, the FCI is yet to clear a pending amount of Rs 739 crore to the state. Chaudhary pointed out that 2.25 lakh tonne wheat was still lying with the agencies as FCI did not have adequate number of godowns for the storage purpose.

Refuting the allegations made by the UP government, the FCI authorities said they had already made their stand clear on the issue of quality of wheat. According to the FCI, the wheat procured by state agencies is of low quality, and it would not pay for any substandard procurement.