New Delhi: With its name echoing in farmer protests against agri reform bills, Adani Group has said it neither buys food grains from farmers nor decides the pricing of food grains. The port-to-energy conglomerate said it only develops and operates grain silos for Food Corporation of India (FCI).
“The company has no role in deciding the volume of storage as well as pricing of grain as it only a service/ infrastructure provider for the FCI,” it said in a statement posted on its Twitter handle.
FCI buys food grains from farmers and stores them in silos built through a public-private partnership. While private players are paid a fee for building and storing the food grains, the ownership of the commodity as well as its marketing and distribution rights, belong to FCI.
FCI, it said, controls the procurement and movement of food grains for the Public Distribution System (PDS).
The statement came as farmer groups in their agitation against the three farm reforms bills that among other things give farmers the freedom to sell their produce to anyone, alleged that the legislations were brought to favour Ambani and Adani.
Some farm groups have alleged that the Adani group is building grain storage facilities for hoarding food grains and selling them at a higher price later.
“We do not own any food grains procured from farmers, and are in no way connected to the pricing of grains,” it said.
Adani Group said it is in the business of developing and operating grain silos for FCI since 2005. It sets up storage infrastructure after winning competitive and transparent tender by the Government of India.
Private rail lines that it built as part of these tenders are to facilitate the movement of grains from silo units to their distribution centres across India, the statement said.
FCI, it said, awarded such contracts with a view to modernising the storage and transport infrastructure in the country so that food grains could be safely stored and quality stuff is supplied to the PDS system.
“Using ongoing issues for mudslinging is a clear attempt to not only tarnish the reputation of a responsible corporate but also misguide public opinion and hurt their sentiment,” Adani Group said.
FCI has partnered with private investors to commission high tech silos equipped with latest fumigation and preservation techniques for food grains for two to four years and dispatch it in bulk form through special trains across India.
It is estimated that since inception, some of the prominent private food storage facilities have registered an average direct receipt, from farmers, of around 80,000 tonnes per year in the last five years.