Govt warns of strict measures against potato hoarders this festive season
It may be mentioned that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee directed the agriculture marketing department to ensure that people do not face unnecessary trouble due to hike in the price of potato ahead of Durga Puja and in the festive season.
Tapan Dasgupta, the state agriculture marketing minister, held a meeting with Cold Storage Owners’ Associations and representatives of potato traders on Wednesday afternoon. Sources said that he gave clear instructions to cold storage owners to clear the remaining stocks of potato by November 30. Potato traders have also been asked to take necessary steps to clear the stock.
Immediate stringent and legal steps would be taken in case stock of potatoes is found in any cold storages after the date set by the state government. It has been mentioned in Wednesday’s meeting that after clearing the stock by November 30, cold storage owners can start stocking potatoes only after March 1 in 2017.
The state marketing department has set up a team comprising senior officers of the department to conduct sudden raids at cold storages and the officers have been asked to take necessary steps as per the law if any cold storage owner is found stocking potatoes illegally.
At the same time stringent measures would also be taken against traders who would own such hoarded stocks of potatoes in cold storages.
The state agriculture marketing minister has clearly mentioned in Wednesday’s meeting that potatoes would be confiscated if found hoarded illegally during the raids in cold storages.
At present, there are around 400 cold storages in the state. Hooghly produces maximum quantity of potato among all the districts in the state and there are 126 cold storages in the district at present. Thus the steps would be taken for better monitoring in Hooghly district.
Dasgupta, who is an MLA from Saptagram Assembly constituency in Hooghly, had visited several cold storages and markets after becoming the state agriculture marketing minister to keep a tab on mixing of soil with potatoes and its illegal hoarding.
On Wednesday, potato is being sold at Rs 14 per kg in the stalls of the Sufal Bangla, an initiative of the state government to help people get fresh fruits and vegetables at reasonable price. While in retail markets it was sold at a rate of Rs 16 to Rs 18 per kg.