Kerala converts over 5 lakh kilo chickpeas in ration shops to fodder

The food was allotted through the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana.

Representative Image (Photo: Mathrubhumi Archives)

Kannur: The unsold 596.7 tons of chickpeas provided by the Union government is converted to fodder by the Kerala government to avoid wastage. The food was allotted through the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) to distribute during the Covid-19 lockdown.

The chickpeas worth Rs 3.8 crores stored in the retail ration shops in the state was collected by the Supplyco as directed by the government and given to Kerala Feeds Limited to convert to fodder in their factories at Irinjalakuda, Kozhikode, Karunagapalli and Thodupuzha. They produce 1350 tons of provender daily. This supply was helpful for them as they face scarcity of raw materials due to farmers’ protests in New Delhi.

In the initial months of the lockdown, the Union Government had provided green gram. As green gram was sold out, the government replaced it with chickpeas. But chickpeas was not purchased by all consumers. The state government then requested the Union Government to distribute the remaining chickpea through monthly food kits. The permission was delayed by four months, the Supplyco stated.

However, the ration shop dealers claimed that the permission was granted in the next month itself. However, the Supplyco delayed the collection of chickpea from the shops, they alleged. A good share of the chickpeas was wasted in the godowns, they added.

The Centre had directed to provide the remaining item to the AAY cardholders and other priority categories. Kerala has as many as 39,03,902 cardholders in these categories. Earlier, the remaining rice and wheat were given to the non-priority categories.

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