The Food Corporation India (FCI) has sold 4.29 lakh metric tonnes of wheat and 14,760 metric tonnes of non-fortified rice through 25 open market e-auctions in West Bengal from June to December this year, an official of the agency said on Saturday.
FCI Deputy General Manager (West Bengal region) Pradeep Singh said the Open Market Sales Scheme (domestic) had been done through the e-auction portal of M-junction.
"In a bid to stabilise the prices of the cereals and also to increase affordability for the general public, the FCI has sold 4.29 lakh metric tonnes of wheat and 14,760 metric tonnes of non-fortified rice in West Bengal through 25 open-market e-auctions from June to December this year," Singh said.
The FCI will also continue to supply the staples through the public distribution system (PDS) free of cost, he said.
While the reserve price of wheat for e-auction sales is Rs 2,150 per quintal, it is Rs 2,900 per quintal for non-fortified rice.
Singh said fortified rice is supplied through the PDS only, and not via the e-auction route.
"West Bengal is a wheat-deficit state but self-sufficient in rice production. For the state, wheat is procured from Haryana, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh at the prevailing minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 2,275 per quintal for marketing season 2024-25," he said.
While wheat is procured from the farmers during the Rabi season, rice is purchased during the Kharif season, he said.
According to the official, differentiation in the quantum of purchase of wheat and rice through the e-auction route has also been made for big and small processing units.
Singh said the FCI has also asked the processors not to hold stocks over and above the monthly processing capacity while bidding for tenders.
He said the next scheduled e-auction will be held on December 20, when 30,000 metric tonnes of wheat and 9,000 metric tonnes of non-fortified rice will be offered for sale through the open market route in West Bengal.
Every week, a similar amount of wheat is offered for sale through the open market, he added.