The foul smell emanating from the damaged wheat stock at open godowns of Pungrain, a state government procurement agency, at Kad Gill village, 6 km from here, on the Tarn Taran-Jandiala Guru Road irks people living in the the surrounding villages. People allege skin diseases have been spreading in the vicinity.They said the wheat stock had been stored there in 2010-11. Since then, it had not been moved. As it was lying in the open, its quality continued to deteriorate and now it is unfit for human or animal consumption. “Whenever there is rain, the stink becomes so severe that people cannot take the route close to the godown,” said a resident of the village.An official of the Food Corporation of India said the stock was declared “completely damaged” about two years ago. It was to be disposed of by holding an auction. He said he did not know why it was still lying there.Kad village sarpanch Jaswant Singh said people of his village were facing a lot of inconvenience due to the rotton grain.
Those living in nearby villages such as Kler, Safipur, Behla, Bagrian, Pakhoke, Bath, Deo, Mughalchak too have been complaining on the issue.“It has become a feeding ground for insects. House flies attracted by this stock add to the woes of people and pose a threat to the health of people living nearby,” said Narinder Kaur from the village.Deputy Commissioner of Tarn Taran Balwinder Singh Dhaliwal said the stock would be disposed of soon. “It was auctioned recently and the parties concerned had been told to remove the stock at the earliest.” He said the removal of the stock had already begun. However, villagers said the work was going on at a snail’s pace and it would take months to dispose it of like this.The same problem is being faced by those living in Piddi village which has about the same quantity of damaged stock. The wheat stored at the godowns of Kad Gill and Piddi villages was worth Rs 50 crore. Official sources said that an inquiry had been initiated to fix the responsibility for the damage caused to the stock.