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FCI staff stir: Foodgrains movement from Punjab may witness further disruption

posted Nov 20, 2011, 10:21 PM by Puneet Goyal
PTI | Nov 17, 2011, 04.49PM IST
CHANDIGARH: Movement of foodgrains from storage-starved Punjab to other states may continue to witness further disruption, with employees of Food Corporation of India (FCI) extending their work-to-rule agitation till December 20 in protest against non-acceptance of their demands.

Though central procurement agency FCI is trying hard to get foodgrain transportation activities on track, about 3 lakh tonnes of foodgrain has not been lifted for the past two weeks on account of the employees' agitation.

"We have decided to extend our work-to-rule agitation from November 16 till December 20 as our demands have not been met by the management of FCI," FCI Executive Staff Union Regional Secretary Megh Raj said here today. Under the work-to-rule agitation, employees do not work beyond office hours, as a result of which loading and unloading of wheat and rice is affected adversely after working hours.

The latest move of the FCI employees assumes significance as Punjab, the food bowl of the country, has been complaining of an acute shortage of space for storing foodgrains, which could lead to wastage of wheat and rice in the 2011-12 kharif marketing season.

Punjab contributes 30 per cent of the total rice and over 50 per cent of total wheat procurement for the central pool.The Punjab government has the blamed the Centre for tardy movement of foodgrain stocks.
Employees met senior official of FCI on November 15, but their demands were not accepted by the management, Raj informed.However, agitating employees have deferred a proposed two-day-long strike, scheduled for November 17-18, till December 20.

FCI employees across the country have been demanding fringe benefits for third and fourth class employees, new recruitment, overtime and pension schemes.With foodgrains movement getting hit because of the employees' agitation, FCI had to fork out a whopping Rs 18-20 lakh as demurrage charges for delayed movement of rail rakes.