Agriculture and Marketing minister catches potato adulteration red-handed
Kolkata: The state Agriculture Marketing minister Tapan Dasgupta conducted a raid at a place near Arambagh in Hooghly on Monday to check mixing of brick dust and soil on potatoes.
On way to a meeting in Hooghly, Dasgupta found some people using brick dust and soil on potatoes in front of one Sarada cold storage at Peasara More.
He immediately rushed to the spot and caught them red-handed. He contacted the local police station. Policemen went to the spot and arrested the accused. They also seized brick dust and soil from the spot that they had stocked.
It may be mentioned that the state Agriculture Marketing department had initiated taking stringent measures to check the practice a few months ago to check the menace before a section of traders can even start practicing it.
In 2016, too, the minister had conducted raids at different cold storages in Hooghly and checked the practice of using brick dust on potatoes.
With the series of steps taken, the menace has been checked to a great extent. Brick dust or soil is used on potatoes to give it a look of superior quality. At the same time, a section of potato traders use brick dust or soil on potatoes to sell a poor quality one at a premium to make fast money.
Some spots appear on potatoes after they are kept in cold storages. As a result, the traders cannot sell them at a premium price. So, in order to give it a look of superior quality, the traders use brick dust and soil on potatoes as they are well aware that first of all potatoes have to look good to sell it in city markets.
So, after polishing the potatoes with brick dust and soil, the traders once again pack them in packets containing 50 kgs of the staple food and sell it in markets mainly in the city and other urban areas.
This comes at the time when the state government took several steps to support potato cultivators and traders. Last year, the state government had provided a financial support of Rs 50 per quintal to transport potatoes to other states and Rs 100 was given to export it abroad.