New Delhi: Government extended sale of wheat in open market to bulk consumers by a month till March-end to clear surplus stocks in FCI warehouses.
     
"Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved extension of sale of wheat under the Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS) till March with same price conditions set earlier," sources said.
     
However, the committee did not approve reduction in prices of wheat for sale, sources said.
     
The one-month extension for wheat sale under OMSS would help clear the stocks in the central pool, which at present are more than double the actual requirement, they added.
     
In October last year, government had allowed Food Corporation of India (FCI) to sell 6.5 million tonnes of wheat to bulk users in the wake of surplus stocks. It had set February this year as deadline to complete the sale.
     
According official data, only 2.6 million tonnes of wheat has been sold out of 6.5 million tonnes so far. The reason for poor sale, traders said, was high prices set for consuming states at Rs 12.85 per kg plus ex-Ludhiana freight and local taxes.
     
A Delhi Roller Flour Mills Association official said, "The traders were not actively buying wheat from FCI for last one month as there was uncertainty about price change. The decision will help traders decide about future buying."
     
To clear surplus stocks, government had started selling wheat under the OMSS in July last year. In the first tranche, it sold close to 2.7 million tonnes out of the total 3 million tonnes.
     
Food Corporation of India has a stock of 66.19 million tonnes of wheat and rice as on January 1, as against the actual requirement of 25 million tonnes. It has storage capacity of only 63 million tonnes.

(Agencies)

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