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Skyrocketing prices of potatoes, onions: Mamata blames Centre's massive export drive

Skyrocketing prices of potatoes, onions: Mamata blames Centres massive export drive

Kolkata: Protesting against the massive export of potatoes and onions despite its need in the country, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday held the Centre responsible for the abnormal hike in the prices of these two kitchen staples.

Banerjee on Wednesday addressed a rally of Trinamool Congress over phone in Singur protesting against the Bill on agriculture introduced by the Centre in Parliament.

She said: "The Centre has introduced a series of black laws when the country is passing through a critical time due to Covid. The middlemen are exporting potatoes and onions without considering its requirement in the country. It is the main reason behind the abnormal hike in the prices of potatoes and onions. The Centre is responsible for the same."

"What will the people of this country eat if everything is exported," Banerjee questioned and added: "We are protesting against it."

While speaking about the Centre's policy, she maintained: "Both farmers and consumers get benefitted if the potato is kept in the list of essential commodities."

This comes when people need to buy potato and onion at a rate of Rs 34 and Rs 40 per kg. It has come up as a serious cause of concern and the Mamata Banerjee government has taken a series of steps to give relief to the people, including selling potatoes at Rs 25 per kg from the Sufal Bangla stalls run by the state Agriculture Marketing department.

The top brass of the state government held several meetings to check the skyrocketing potato prices. Traders in wholesale markets were directed not to sell the same above Rs 22 per kg so that it could be sold at Rs 25 at the retail markets.

The state government is taking all necessary steps to bring down the prices of potato, onion and other vegetables, keeping in mind the upcoming festive season.

The export of potato to other countries has taken place despite its cultivation in states including Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar and Chhattisgarh being comparatively less than the previous years. Bengal too witnessed a drop in potato cultivation. It has dropped to 1 crore tonne this year compared to that usual 1.20 crore tonne every year due to heavy rainfall since October 2019 and Cyclone Bulbul.

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