MY KOLKATA EDUGRAPH
ADVERTISEMENT
regular-article-logo Tuesday, 23 July 2024

Mamata for potato release to rein in price: CM asks officials to make available six lakh tonnes every month from cold stores

The chief minister said police would start checking the borders so that potatoes were not transported to other states for the time being

Pranesh Sarkar Calcutta Published 10.07.24, 09:43 AM
Mamata Banerjee holds a meeting of the task force on the essential commodities at Nabanna on Tuesday.

Mamata Banerjee holds a meeting of the task force on the essential commodities at Nabanna on Tuesday. PTI

Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday asked officials to ensure that six lakh tonnes of potato were released from cold stores every month to bring down the price of the produce — which has spiraled to 35 a kg — to at least 22 a kg to give relief to common people.

The chief minister issued the directive during a meeting of the task force that keeps a tab on the prices of essential commodities. At the meeting in Nabanna, she also set a 10-day deadline for the officials to bring down the prices of the essential commodities by carrying out regular visits to markets to prevent any kind of hoarding.

ADVERTISEMENT

“There are enough potatoes — about 45 lakh tonnes — in cold stores. But a section of traders is controlling the release of potatoes in the market, creating a demand-supply gap. You should ensure that six lakh tonnes of potato are released to the market every month,” said the chief minister.

Members of the task force, which include senior bureaucrats, police officers and representatives of various market committees, said Mamata had initiated a right step to rein in the abnormal hike in the prices of vegetables, along with potato and onion, by ordering the release of six lakh tonnes of potatoes every month from the cold stores.

The state has a consumption requirement of five lakh tonnes of potato every month. But nearly 45 lakh tonnes of potatoes have been kept in the cold stores. If potatoes are released according to the consumption requirement, there should not be any shortage of the produce till January when the fresh crop would be harvested, sources said.

“The chief minister has rightly pointed out the need of releasing potatoes to the market according to the consumption requirement. The prices of other vegetables would come down if the potato is available at a reasonable rate. This is because people can substitute potatoes for other vegetables,” said a senior bureaucrat.

Mamata explained why she believed that a section of traders was making profit by controlling the release of potatoes from the stores.

“The farmers did not get more than 15 for a kg of potato. Then, why would the produce be sold at 35 a kg in the market? There were 60 lakh tonnes of potatoes in the stores, but only 15 lakh tonnes were released in the market over the past five-six months. The price of the produce was 22 a kg last year and we should try to bring the rate to that extent,” said Mamata.

The chief minister said police would start checking the borders so that potatoes were not transported to other states for the time being.

“First, we will ensure that our consumption requirement is met and then we will think about anything else,” she added.

Not only potatoes, Mamata pointed out, the prices of the majority of the vegetables went up this year compared to last year. She held the Centre responsible for the situation.

“The prices of the vegetables have gone up in the past 10 days, after the new government was formed (in Delhi). Controlling the prices ofessential commodities is the duty of the Centre and they must have done something wrong that led to the situation. Also, elections were heldfor three months and nobody was there to take care ofthese issues,” said the chief minister.

She asked the police and vigilance wing to conduct raids on the markets on a regular basis to prevent the hoarding of commodities and asked the task force to submit a report to her every week.

“We have to bring down the prices of the essential commodities within 10 days. Every week, the task force would meet and submit a report to me,” she said.

Follow us on:
ADVERTISEMENT