New Delhi : During these difficult times, when logistics of essential goods has become a major challenge to all stakeholders, FCI has ensured that sufficient quantity of food grains are made available in the remotest islands of the country by putting to use all available resources and modes of transport.
Maintaining continuous supply of food grains to the islands of Andaman & Nicobar as well as Lakshadweep during the lockdown period is being handled by Food Corporation of India (FCI) with full vigor over the last 27 days. Due to its difficult topography and limited access, it takes herculean efforts to maintain the logistical operations ensuring uninterrupted supply of grains under Public Distribution System (PDS) to the islands. Considering the high dependence on PDS in these Islands, it is of utmost importance to ensure that food grains reach every island well in time. FCI moved 2 vessels to A&N Islands and 7 smaller vessels to Lakshadweep Islands during the 27 days of countrywide lockdown, which is more than double the monthly average movement of vessels to the islands.
Islands of Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep have very unique logistical challenges as these areas are not having access by road/ rail from mainland and sea route is the only option for movement of food grains. FCI is having one depot each in Islands of Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep, having capacity of 7080 MT at Port Blair and 2500 MT at Androth respectively. In addition to moving stocks to its main depot at Port Blair, FCI ensures supply of food grains for PDS throughout the A&N islands by moving food grains directly to 12 Principal Distribution Centres (PDC’s) through vessel movement from Kakinada Port (Andhra Pradesh). The PDS requirement of the Lakshadweep Islands is being met from 2500 MT FCI Godown at Androth. The food grains are moved to FCI Androth through vessel from Mangalore Port (Karnataka) and UT administration undertakes further movement to the smaller islands from Androth.
During the 27 days of lockdown, about 1750 MT food grain has been moved to Lakshadweep from Mangalore Port which is almost 3 times the normal monthly average of 600 MT. Similarly, a quantity of about 6500 MT has been moved from Kakinada Port to Port Blair and different PDCs situated at different Islands of A&N, which is more than double the normal monthly average of 3000 MT.
Continuous supply of food grains could be ensured in these Islands against all constraints posed due to countrywide lockdown and a quantity of around 1100 MT of food grains have been distributed in Lakshadweep Islands and around 5500 MT in A&N Islands in 27 days of lockdown, including additional allocation under PM Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana (PMGKAY). Lakshadweep has already lifted its quota of 3 Months allocation under PMGKAY, whereas A&N Island has lifted quota of more than 2 Months under the same scheme.