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Buddha rap for farm minister

Calcutta, Sept. 13: Minister for agricultural marketing and Forward Bloc leader Chhaya Ghosh came under flak at today’s Left Front meeting when chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee resented the manner in which her department was collecting levy on agricultural products across the state.

According to Front sources, Bhattacharjee was unhappy at not getting a reply from Ghosh on the issue even after a detailed note was sent to her three months back.

Bloc leaders present at the meeting, however, pleaded that Ghosh could not apply her mind on the matter due to “prolonged indisposition”.

The chief minister had suggested in the note that the West Bengal Agricultural Products (Regulation) Act has to be amended to continue with the levy on agricultural products. Traders’ bodies had registered their protests against the levy, the chief minister said.

Bhattacharjee said he would soon meet with the Bloc leaders to discuss the agriculture policy before sending it to the Cabinet core committee for a final approval.

The decision follows certain suggestions on the proposed policy from agriculture minister and Forward MLA Kamal Guha. He had said that the nearly 2,000 technical assistants and 52 sub-divisional agriculture officers should work under the agriculture department and not with the panchayats. The CPM had wanted it otherwise.

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