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Mamata cracks whip on spiralling food inflation

On the heels of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee forming a 11-member committee to monitor food price inflation in the state, members of the Enforcement Directorate paid a surprise visit to several markets in the city on Tuesday in an effort to check hoarding and artificial spiralling of food prices.

Banerjee has also asked the Kolkata Municipal Corporation [KMC] authorities to ensure uniform prices of vegetables across 33 markets under its control. 'I will not tolerate black marketing and hoarding. This sudden inflation is causing harassment to the masses,' she said.

Prices of essential food items like rice, potato, vegetables must be brought under control within two weeks, she said. 'I must inform you that production of rice, potato, onion has been adequate in the state. There are middlemen though, who hike prices of commodities artificially as they transit from the store to the market. The police, the enforcement branch will work round the clock to bust this racket,' Banerjee said on Monday. The committee will be headed by Chief Minister's Principal Secretary, Goutam Sanyal. Market associations as well as food departments were also represented at the meeting.

Meanwhile, the Left parties staged a walkout in the Bidhan Sabha on Monday, protesting against the rejection of an all party meeting proposed by Left Front Chairman, Biman Bose, on the price hike issue.

'Why meet with them? For 34 years, the CPIM has facilitated the price hike. During their regime, in 2009, brinjal was selling for Rs 80 a kilo, potato for Rs 24 a kilo. Why talk to them?' said Banerjee.
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