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STC to float wheat import tender soon

June 15, 2007 12:05 IST

In an effort to rein in inflation, the State Trading Corporation is likely to float a tender to import up to 2 million tonnes of wheat this month.

According to a senior official in the food ministry, the new tender may be floated by the month-end. He said more tenders would be floated later in the year to import a total of 4-5 million tonnes wheat. Imports are being undertaken to build up buffer stock.

India had started the current financial year with a buffer of 4.7 million tonnes compared with 2.1 million tonnes a year ago. Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar had last week said India would float fresh tenders for

wheat import after procurement operations for the season were over.

STC had floated a 1-million tonne wheat import tender in May, which was scrapped because of high priced bids due to stringent quality norms. Consequently, after rounds of deliberations with overseas sellers, India is now mulling easing quality norms to allow broader participation.

This year, wheat output is seen higher at 73.7 million tonnes compared with 69.5 million tonnes last year. The official said government's procurement operations in wheat producing majors Punjab and Haryana will end on Friday, while in the rest of the country it will conclude by the month-end.

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