LAHORE Though having far less storage capacity than the required space, the Punjab Food Department is unable to use properly even the existing network as major part of its godown in the City is in use of education and health departments for the last so many years, TheNation has learnt. Lahore is among few major cities where the food department has insufficient storage capacity, even less than required for food security according to the need of the local population. The Punjab Food Department made several attempts in the last 4-5 years but all in vain and both Education and Health departments continued to store textbooks and medicine at major portion of godown at Guru Mangit, Gulberg. Education department is keeping textbooks at major portion of the godown from where these are supplied to all over the province according to the requirement. Similarly, health department is keeping medicines at the same venue for further supply to public sector healthcare centres across the province. Presently, all the available space is filled to the capacity while the government has also stored wheat at open places. Besides that, the government has stored over 0.6m tonne wheat at hired premises. When contacted, Secretary Food Irfan Elahi admitted use of godown by education and health departments. He informed that both the departments had agreed in the presence of the Punjab Chief Minister to vacate the premises till December 31, 2010. He expressed hope that the department would get the possession of all blocks of Guru Mangat godown at the start of next year. He, however, revealed that the premises would not be used anymore for the storage of wheat as the government desired its auction. He said that the government was planning to construct more storage places in the City with four times more capacity than the existing godown at Guru Mangat. He said that government was planning construction of godowns in different cities including Lahore, keeping in view the requirements of local population. All the godowns are filled to the capacity. The department has even stored procured wheat at open places. The wheat in open has been covered with polythene sheets to avoid damage during rainfall. The government has also taken on rent places in a number of cities to store extra wheat, he said, adding, the start of export would reduce burden on existing godowns while the government was expanding network to enable storage of extra wheat.