The steps taken by the state agriculture marketing department to set a deadline for the cold storages to clear the stock of potatoes has resulted to a sharp drop in the price of the staple food.
Compared to the price two weeks ago, it has come down by around Rs 8 to Rs 9 per kg. At present, potato is being sold in the markets in the city at around Rs 10 per kg. In some markets it is available at even Rs 9 per kg.
There was still a stock of around 8 lakh metric tonne in the cold storages in the state even on November 29. Earlier, the deadline to clear the stock was November 30. But the date had to be deferred by another eight days as there was a sudden decline in the demand of all commodities due to demonetisation of notes. At the same time, instruction was also given not to stock potato in cold storages before March 1, 2017.
In a meeting, Tapan Dasgupta, the agriculture marketing minister, had clearly stated to representatives of cold storage owners and potato traders that stock has to be cleared by December 8.
The department had continued its monitoring so that the cold storages were empty by the set deadline. As the department officials had received information, there was around 2 lakh metric tonne of potato loaded on trucks for different markets.
It is learnt that a packet containing 50 kg of potatoes are being sold at Rs 350 by the traders, those had stocked it in cold storages, to wholesalers and in local market it is sold at Rs 9 to Rs 10 per Kg.
Before Durga Puja, potato was being sold at Rs 14 per kg in the stalls of the Sufal Bangla, an initiative of the state government to help people get fresh fruits and vegetables at reasonable price, while in local markets it was sold at a rate of Rs 16 to Rs 18 per kg.
It may be mentioned that repeated raids conducted by the state Agriculture marketing department officials and even the minister of the department in cold storages had forced the traders to clear the stock as early as possible. A team comprising officials of the department was formed to conduct sudden raids in cold storages. In turn, the price of potato had not skyrocketed and instead it was under control.