Kolkata: In a bid to increase the storage capacity of food grains in Bengal, the state Co-operation department has decided to develop 23 modern storage facilities in the districts.
The step has been taken following directions and vision of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to strengthen the cooperative infrastructure that will ensure increase in storage capacity of food grains.
The 23 store houses will be developed at a cost of Rs 240 crore and each of the store houses will be of a capacity of 10,000 metric tonne. So with construction of the store houses by the cooperation department, there will be an increase in the storage capacity by 2.30 lakh metric tonne.
The store houses will be developed on the land owned by the department and there would be requirement of around three acres to set up each of the store houses. The land will also be identified soon.
Arup Roy, the state Co-operative minister, added: "The primary step is to ensure that farmers get the right prices for their crops. The Chief Minister has also directed to take measures to ensure the same. So the increase in storage capacity for food grains will be immensely helpful for farmers."
This comes at a time when the Mamata Banerjee government is providing rice at Rs 2 per kg to around eight crore people of the state. Enormous amount of food grains are being procured for the project and farmers are getting minimum support price when the paddy procurement is happening from the state government's side.
M V Rao, Principal Secretary, Co-operation department, said: "As per the direction of the Chief Minister, infrastructure development of the co-operative sector has been taken up in a big way which will help the farmers immensely."
The state co-operation department has also set a target of procuring 30 lakh metric tonne paddy through co-operative societies in the current procurement year and a seminar was recently held at Netaji Indoor Stadium in this regard in which the Chief Minister had directed to take measures to create the necessary infrastructure.
At the same time, as many as 17 more store houses will be set up by the state Food and Supplies department.
NABARD is giving the amount to the state government as loan to set up the store houses under the Warehousing Infrastructure Fund of the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF).
It may be mentioned that the storage capacity of food grains is 62,000 metric tonne in 2010-11.
At present, it has increased to around 6.10 lakh metric tonne with several steps being taken by the state government in the past six years that will further increase with the setting up of the upcoming store houses.