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TUBER TROUBLE

TT: First, onion and tomato. Now potato. Vegetables are vanishing from our kitchens due to rising prices.

AK: The potato crisis isnít as big as it is being made out to be. At mandis, we are selling potatoes between Rs 1,800 and Rs 2,000 per quintal. Retail prices are between Rs 2,400 and Rs 2,500. We are trying to limit per-quintal margins at less than Rs 500

But, Bengal has stopped supply?

Bengal hasnít banned potatoes to Jharkhand. It has only regulated supply to prevent hoarding. It is justified in doing so. No state wants to deprive its own people

So supplies to Jharkhand are normal?

To a large extent, yes

How so?

Usually, we received 433MT stock from Bengal. Of late, we have been receiving around 250-300MT. This is because our neighbour is releasing trucks only after proper scrutiny, which is taking a day or two at check posts

Why have prices shot up suddenly?

Several reasons. But, we are trying to control it. Due to uncertainties in weather, vegetable production isnít seasonal and timely. So, potato is the only alternative. And with ever-increasing demand, prices go up

But Jharkhand has always seen such price fluctuations?

We can control prices in the wholesale market. Not so in retail as the trade is unorganised and scattered. When you get out from your car, the vendor charges you more! Go by foot and you will get a better deal

How much does the state produce?

Not much. Our potatoes take care of our demand for two-three months. We are heavily dependent on Bengal and Uttar Pradesh

Do we get potatoes from any other state?

Yes. Besides Bengal and UP, from Bihar

Will prices ease?

Only after Durga Puja when Bengal is expected to be lenient in sending stocks

Onions?

We will have to wait till the next cropping season as the countryís biggest producer Nasik has again suffered losses due to rain


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