New Delhi: In order to meet the challenges of foodgrain storage, the Union Food Ministry is considering other alternatives apart from promoting private investment upon which detailed suggestions have been invited from the states.

While the first proposal supports the stocking of grains on the local level by building godowns in every village, under the second proposal the ration cardholders will be provided with full quota of grain during procurement season. This will save the additional expenditure incurred on the stocking of grains and it will also solve the major problems of grain rotting.

Under the first proposal, the Food Ministry will authorize farmers to construct small godowns in each Gram Sabha. Farmers whose godowns have the storage capacity of 10 tonnes will also be paid the rent.

Under the second proposal, ration cardholders will be provided for full quota of grain for six months.

The problems which are likely to appear in the implementation of both these proposals are also being studied. Presently, country has a total of 24 crore ration cardholders who are supplied with 4.25 crore tonnes subsidized grain annually on monthly basis.

Before the distribution, grain is kept in a godown in the procurement season. Under the Antyodaya scheme, cardholders are given 35 kg of grain every month, while Below Poverty Line (BPL) and others get 15-25 kg grain.

Around 2.25 crore tonnes of grains have to be distributed during the span of six months. Its storage expenditure costs Rs 4,500 per ton.

Former Union Food Minister Shanta Kumar has been advocating for this alternative for a long time. Kumar believes that the changes will solve many problems related with grain storage in the country.

JPN/Bureau