Potatoes act too pricey

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By OUR CORRESPONDENT
  • Published 11.11.13
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After onions, potatoes have started burning holes in the common man’s pocket.

Steel city residents are paying Rs 40 per kg for the modest tuber, the price of which has multiplied six-fold over the last month. A month ago, potatoes were available for Rs 7-8 per kg.

Wholesaler Hari Kumar at Parsudih-based Krishi Utpadan Bazaar Samiti put the blame on neighbour Bengal, which has imposed an embargo on exporting potatoes. “As 90 per cent of potato supply comes from Bengal, the ban has resulted in a crisis and unwanted price hike in local markets,” he explained.

Potato sellers in Sakchi market said the old stock had been exhausted. “Till the last week of October, about seven to eight truckloads of potatoes were coming to the city every day. Currently, the supply has dropped drastically,” said retailer Anant Mahto.

No wonder, vendors selling gupchup, aloo chop and aloo dum, have turned miserly in their offerings.

Krishi Utpadan Bazaar Samiti had also approached trade outfit Singhbhum Chamber of Commerce and Industry, requesting it to look for solutions to the problem. The trade outfit wrote to chief minister Hemant Soren on Saturday, seeking intervention.

“Rising inflation has taken a toll on local business and economy. We have been approached by many potato wholesalers, whose stocks have been held up by Bengal government on the borders of Singhbhum, Dhanbad and Sahebganj,” said Bharat Vasani, vice-president of SCCI, adding that the food inflation had caused domestic budgets to go haywire.

Vasani further said the Bengal government’s decision had created an artificial shortage of potatoes in neighbouring states. “It’s time to review the situation and look for immediate solutions,” he added.

Officials of the Samiti are, however, hopeful that normal supply will be restored in the next fortnight.