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Onion, potato export ban

The chief minister on Monday ordered a ban on export of potato and onion till their prices stabilise, Nabanna sources said.

The chief minister issued the order, in an attempt to check the rising prices of the two items, at a meeting of the task force overseeing the prices of essential commodities.

“She expressed her displeasure over the rise in potato and onion prices and stressed the need to step up the price-monitoring mechanism…. Then she said there must not be any export of potato and onion to foreign markets,” the source said.

Bengal does not export onion to other states or countries in substantial quantities. In case of potato, the export markets are Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan, which account for around 5 to 7 per cent of the produce. Experts feel export is not the reason for the jump in the prices.

The price of onion in some city markets has gone up to Rs 36 a kg, while potato is being sold for Rs 23 or more.

Last month, the government had issued an advisory to sell potato at Rs 14 a kg but traders have not followed it.

An industry insider said a directive issued last year to peg potato prices at Rs 13 a kg had resulted in hoarding and export of the crop to neighbouring states.