FCI to build 42 silos in 10 states to store foodgrains

New Delhi, June 17 (IANS) The Food Corporation of India (FCI) will build state-of-the-art storage facilities at 42 places in 10 states to meet the emerging need for distribution of grains under the forthcoming food security law.

The silos will come up in Bihar, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Assam, Kerala and Gujarat.

The facilities will have a storage capacity of 2 million tonnes. As many as 38 of the silos will be under the BOO (build, own and operate) basis under the public-private partnership (PPP) mode, while the rest will be under the viability gap funding-based BOT (build, operate and transfer) model.

The electronic bidding for building the silos is expected to be launched within two months, FCI Chairman and Managing Director C. Viswanath said.

Viswanath said under the BOO variant of PPP, entrepreneurs would have to bring in land and set up silo complexes and railway sidings for movement besides carrying out operations.

He said the pre-bid documents prepared by the silo project team of the FCI would be the first set of model documents of the BOO model as all the previous model documents were only of the BOT model.

The FCI in collaboration with its strategic partner, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), held a pre-bidding stakeholders' meeting here last week.

"It is a great challenge and responsibility to ensure the annual availability of an estimated 62 million tonne food grains under the PDS (public distribution system)," Food and Public Distribution Secretary Sudhir Kumar said addressing the meeting.

The silos project was a step towards modernisation of food grain storage logistics, he said, while explaining that it was a part of the government's strategy to increase the grain storage capacity for which it was taking steps in a "mission mode".

Launched in 2000 under the National Policy on handling, storage and bulk transportation of foodgrains, the silos can store foodgrains for three years without undergoing degeneration. The current project is the first major step by the FCI and the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution towards modernising the country's foodgrains storage.

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