West Bengal to sell potatoes to curb price rise


Kolkata : The West Bengal government has decided to sell potatoes through the public distribution system (PDS) to check the skyrocketing price of the commodity.

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“The state government will sell potatoes through ration shops at Rs.13 per kilogram and for that we’ll have to give a Rs.9 crore subsidy a week,” said state Finance Minister Ashim Dasgupta.

Dasgupta also held talks with state agricultural retail minister Mortaza Hossain and senior state police officials Thursday to discuss the process of implementation of this new system.

“Each family will get two kilogram of potatoes from ration shops across the state. All BPL (below the poverty level) and non-BPL category people will get this facility,” he told reporters.

Presently, two variants of potato are being sold in the open market – Chandramukhi at Rs.23 and Jyoti Rs.22 per kilogram.

The minister also said the state government was trying to import potato from Punjab, and a team of officials that visited the northern state has already submitted a report on the issue.

“To increase the potato production, we are now trying to bring seeds from Punjab and Himachal Pradesh in the next season,” Dasgupta said.

The West Bengal government had included potato under the essential commodities category to prevent its rising prices.

It issued a notification under the West Bengal Prevention of Hoarding of Essential Food Stuffs Order, 2009, declaring potatoes cannot be stocked beyond a permissible limit.

As per the notification, wholesalers cannot stock more than 400 quintals and the retailers over 30 quintals.

The order also enables government representatives to check godowns for excess stock.

After the steep rise in potato prices, the state government from July 11 started selling it at Rs.13 a kg in 43 vegetable markets across the state.