New Delhi: There are 8,038 cold storages in the country with a capacity of 36.77 million tonnes and 92 per cent of the capacity is owned and operated by private entities, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said in Lok Sabha on Tuesday. Tomar said as per a study on All India Cold-chain Infrastructure Capacity (AICIC-2015), there was cold storage capacity of 32 million tonnes in the country against an approximate requirement of 35 million tonnes. "As per the latest available information received from States, there are 8,038 cold storages with capacity of 36.77 million tonnes in the country," he said during Question Hour.
The minister said the base line survey conducted during December, 2013 by M/s Hansa Research Group estimated that 92 per cent of cold storage are owned and operated by private sector, three per cent cooperative and remaining five per cent are under Public Sector. Tomar said the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution deals with storage of foodgrains post procurement by the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and state agencies.
"Against total stocks of 741.41 LMT (as on June 1, 2019), the total storage capacity available with FCI, Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC) and state agencies (both owned and hired capacity), is 862.45 LMT (as on May 31, 2019) comprising 739.76 LMT in covered godowns and 122.69 LMT in Cover and Plinth (CAP) storage," he said.
Replying to another question, the minister said as such there is no harmful effect of fertilizers on soil fertility if applied in a balanced and judicious manner. "The average rate of consumption of chemical fertilizers in the country is only around 134 kg per hectare. The fertility of soil is being lost in certain situations mainly due to imbalanced use of chemical fertilizers coupled with low use of organic manures," he said.
Tomar said the government has been implementing 'Soil Health Card' (SHC) scheme since 2015 to assist state governments in soil testing and providing soil health cards to all farm holdings in the country regularly in a cycle of 2 years. Soil health cards provide information to farmers on nutrient status of their soil along with recommendations on appropriate dosage of nutrients to be applied for improving soil health and its fertility.
"So far 411 new static Soil Testing Labs (STLs), 100 new mobile STLs, 8,752 mini STLs and 1,562 village level STLs have been sanctioned under the scheme since 2014-15. This includes 6 mobile STLs and 28 village level STLs sanctioned to Bihar. Out of these sanctioned labs, 129 new static Soil Testing Labs (STLs), 86 new mobile STLs, 6,498 mini STLs and 17 village level STLs are already established," he said.