New Delhi [India], April 21 (ANI): The Food Corporation of India (FCI) has moved two vessels to Andaman and Nicobar islands and seven smaller vessels to Lakshadweep islands in a bid to ensure the availability of food grain supply in the remote areas amid the coronavirus lockdown.
"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," Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food, and Public Distribution said in a statement on Tuesday.
It said that FCI has ensured a sufficient quantity of food grains are made available in the remote islands of the country by putting to use all available resources and modes of transport.
"Maintaining a 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," the statement said.
"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," it added.
FCI has one depot each in Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep, having a 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 the supply of food grains for PDS throughout the Andaman and Nicobar islands by moving food grains directly to 12 Principal Distribution Centres (PDC's) through vessel movement from Kakinada Port in Andhra Pradesh.
Meanwhile, the food grains are moved to FCI Androth through vessels from Mangalore Port in Karnataka and the administration of the Union Territory undertakes further movement to the smaller islands from Androth.
During the lockdown so far, about 1750 MT food grain has been moved to Lakshadweep from Mangalore Port which is almost three 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 Andaman and Nicobar Islands during the lockdown, including additional allocation under PM Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana (PMGKAY)," the statement said.
It said that Lakshadweep has already lifted its quota of three months allocation under PMGKAY, whereas Andaman and Nicobar Island has lifted quota of more than two months under the same scheme. (ANI)