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Prices of vegetables to normalise in a week: CM

Kolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday blamed a section of unscrupulous businessmen for creating an arbitrary price rise of

vegetables while citing the damages caused by cyclone Bulbul and assured that prices will be normalised in seven to eight days.

Banerjee chaired an emergency meeting of the task force, with the prices of vegetables including onion and potato witnessing a sudden rise in the market. Potato is currently selling at Rs 22 per kg, while onion is priced at Rs 70-80.

"Some unscrupulous businessmen are selling vegetables at a much higher cost by citing effects of the cyclone Bulbul. We are keeping a close watch on such traders and the police will take necessary action. The situation will become normal in seven to eight days," Banerjee said after the meeting.

Banerjee reiterated that crops have been damaged in South 24-Parganas due to the severe cyclone but there are many other districts where vegetable production has been good. "So the price rise cannot be attributed to the cyclone," she said.

She pointed out that her government had tied up with NAFED, a central organisation for supplying onions, but the agency violated the agreement that contributed to the price rise of onions.

She said that onions would be made available at reasonable rates in government-run Sufal Bangla stalls and assured that more such stalls would be set up across the state. She also blamed a section of the traders for increasing the price of potatoes, with stocks being procured at Rs 13 from farmers. "The issue would be taken up by the state enforcement branch," she asserted.

The Chief Minister said that at present there is 14 lakh metric tonnes of potatoes in cold storage. Three lakh metric tonnes has to be kept aside for cultivation of seeds and the remaining 11 lakh metric tonnes will last for the next two months. New stock will be available from January 2020.

"So the stock is enough to meet the demand till December," she added.

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