Kolkata: The state government is taking all necessary steps to prevent use of brick dust and soil on potatoes before a section of traders can even start practising it this season.
It may be mentioned that the state agriculture marketing department had taken a series of steps last year to check the adulteration of potatoes.
The practice of using brick dust or soil on potatoes to give it a superior quality look had almost stopped with repeated raids conducted by officials of the agriculture marketing department. Tapan Dasgupta, the department's minister, had also organised raided in different places, mainly in Hooghly, to check the menace.
After getting immense success in putting a check on the use of brick dust or soil on potatoes, the state government will leave no stone unturned this year to ensure that the same practice doesn't start once again. A section of potato traders use brick dust or soil on potatoes to sell a poor quality one at a premium price to make fast money.
Spots appear on potatoes after they are kept in cold storages. As a result, the traders cannot sell them at a premium. In a bid to give it a look of superior quality, they use brick dust and soil on the produce.
After "polishing" the potatoes with brick dust and soil, the traders once again pack those in packets containing 50 kgs of the staple food and sell it in the markets mainly in the city and other urban areas.
According to an official of the department, the traders are well aware that first of all potatoes have to look good to get them sold in the city markets. So they mainly "push" such potatoes in the markets in the urban parts of the state.
The state agriculture marketing department had received several complaints in this connection in mid 2016 and initiated a number of measures.
Sources said that this year, too, the department has chalked out an elaborate plan so that traders do not get any scope to start using brick dust or soil on potatoes once again.
It is learnt that raids will be conducted this year as well. Stringent measures will be taken against the traders who will be caught using brick dust or soil on potatoes.
The state government has taken several steps to support the 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.
Sources said that there are possibilities that the state government will provide similar support this year too.