The Telegraph
Wednesday , February 27 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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In House, potato-happy politicians

- Government gifts organic variant of vegetable to legislators

BJP MLA from Ramnagar Bhagirathi Devi would indulge in culinary experiments with a bag full of potatoes she got from the agriculture department on Tuesday.

She believes that the dishes she would toss up would be extra delicious because the primary ingredient — potatoes — is organic. Like her, the 302 other members of the Assembly and the Council got a 10kg bag of organic potatoes each.

“I tried organic potatoes last year. They were very tasty. This year, I shall make aloo chop and bhujiya with the potatoes I got,” said Bhagirathi, praising the choice of the gift.

Her party and Assembly colleague from Surajgarh in Lakhisarai district, Prem Ranjan Patel, as well as science and technology minister Gautam Singh and Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes welfare minister Jeetan Ram Manjhi shared Bhagirathi’s alacrity and exhilaration.

“I love all dishes made of potatoes. The size of the organic aloo is larger than the regular ones. It is perfect for dum-aloo,” said Patel.

Along with the size, the organic potatoes are dearer than their non-organically cultivated cousins. While the regular potatoes are available for Rs 12 or Rs 13 per kg, the organic variety comes for around Rs 15. (See graphic)

Not everyone was happy to get the gift though. The RJD MLA from Maner, Bhai Birendra, was sceptical about the nature of the potatoes. “How can I believe that these are organic? I shall send them for tests. If something happens to me after I eat these potatoes, who will take the responsibility?” he said.

Birendra would perhaps be reassured when he learns that Nalanda Organic Vegetable Growers’ Federation had supplied the vegetables.

The chairperson of the organisation is Rakesh Kumar, an award-winning farmer from Sohdih village in Biharsharif.

He said: “Agriculture department officials placed a demand with me for the potatoes two days back.”

The government has a specific purpose for presenting the legislators with the gift.

Agriculture department deputy director A.C. Jain told The Telegraph: “We want the legislators to be aware of the production of organic farming and promote it in their respective constituencies.”

At least one legislator — JD(U) MLA from Karakat in Rohtas Rajeshwar Raj — is inspired by organic potatoes. “I shall show the organic potatoes to farmers in my district and encourage them to cultivate it,” he said.