in the face of looming global food crisis, the Maharashtra government has decided to dispose of over 30,000
tonnes of imported red wheat saying that much of it is unfit for consumption.
The state government was to disburse the wheat through the public distribution system before October 31, 2007. However, following protests and criticism over the poor quality of imported wheat, the government recalled the stocks in November. A government lab had tested the wheat and found some of the stocks had fungal growth, and 229 of 265 samples were unfit for consumption.
The grains, which could have fed more than 200,000 people for over a year, are since lying unused in over 300 warehouses across the state. Only 18,000 tonnes of it have been declared fit for human consumption, while 10,000 tonnes can be used as animal feed. The rest, which has been found unfit for either human or animal consumption, will be buried. The government plans to sell the grains through an open tender. It plans to auction the wheat stocks fit for consumption to bulk buyers like bakery owners at a base price of Rs 670 per 100 kg--almost half the price at which the government had purchased the wheat from the international market. Those unfit for consumption will be auctioned to poultry farmers.
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