Lucknow: The Uttar Pradesh government on Thursday said there is no damage to foodgrain stored in godowns and the first wheat stored in open areas would be lifted under public distribution system.

"As against the procurement target of 42 lakh MT, the government has purchased 50 lakh MT which is a record," Food and Civil Supplies Minister Raghuraj Pratap Singh Raja Bhaiyya told reporters here.

He said reports of foodgrain being damaged in rain were incorrect. The minister said sacks in Lakhimpur were soaked in light pre-monsoon rain, which were removed and wheat was stored again.

Raja Bhaiyya said the problem was being faced due to non- availability of sacks, which was the responsibility of the Centre.

The minister said while nine lakh MT was to be delivered to the Food Corporation of India, 18-20 lakh MT were to be stored.

Principal Secretary Balvinder Kumar said there was a gap of 10-11 lakh MT due to which storage was being done in open areas.

He said that from July 1 foodgrain would be lifted under PDS after which storage capacity for nine lakh MT would be created.

He said that all procurement agencies and divisional commissioners have given written undertaking that all arrangements have been made for safety of the foodgrain.

Kumar said that as per the High Court directive a high-level committee would be constituted which would give recommendation so that foodgrain is not destroyed in future.

Regarding Banda incident where a farmer torched his wheat, he said that it was done in a "staged" manner.

Raja Bhaiyya said such incidents were stray nd Banda incident was "pre-planned".

The Allahabad High Court had yesterday directed the Uttar Pradesh government to set up a committee to find out ways and means for safety and security of foodgrains.

No foodgrains, purchased by the government, should be kept in an open space, the Lucknow Bench of the Court said in its order.

The order was passed by the vacation Bench, comprising Justice Devi Prasad Singh and Justice Satish Chandra, on a PIL filed by a local lawyer seeking protection of foodgrains.


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