State Cabinet today approved a potato procurement scheme wherein cold storages would procure potatoes directly from cultivators in view of supply surpassing demand and later sell it off directly in the market so as to prevent distress sale among farmers.

Cold storages will buy 10 lakh metric ton of potatoes from farmers at a rate of Rs six per kg and the process would begin with Jyoti variety of potatoes.

“This year, potato cultivators have witnessed a bumper sale following which the supply is much higher compared to demand. To ensure that farmers are not forced to sell their produce at lower cost, state government has decided to encourage cold storage owners to procure the produce directly from farmers at a correct rate and later when the demand rises then they can clear their stocks by selling those in the market,” said state chief secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay at Nabanna this evening.

Bandopadhyay assured that in case cold storages fail to sell their stocks at proper rates in the market later on the government would extend necessary financial assistance to them. The state government will tie-up with banks for loans to help the cold storages. “As per our past experience we believe that such a situation can never arise for cold storages to face any losses,” he added.

The Cabinet further approved a comprehensive project for rehabilitation of distressed dams and barrages under state irrigation and waterways department. A total of Rs 345 crore would be spent on the project of which 70 per cent of the fund would be spent by the World Bank and the remaining 30 per cent by the state government.

The project is aimed at restructuring and repairing the dams and barrages along with improving flood control and irrigation facilities. In 2017 a central agency had conducted a safety audit of all the dams and barrages across the state following which a comprehensive plan has been taken for rehabilitation.