Potato crisis has been arrested, claims govt
statesman News Service
Kolkata, 11 November
Claiming to have arrested the potato crisis in state, the government today said that the existing stocks in cold storages is sufficient enough to meet the demand for another two and a half-months.
It has also ruled out apprehensions of a hike in vegetable prices since trucks carrying fish, eggs and onions to Bengal were stopped in Odisha and Jharkhand recently. State chief secretary Mr Sanjay Mitra said: “Discussions are on with our counterparts in the neighbouring states and the situation is not that alarming. The issue of an exorbitant hike is being played up.”
Though the ban on selling potatoes outside Bengal was not lifted today, traders can sell their stocks to other states with permission.
The state government today extended the deadline for clearing stocks in cold storages to 15 December in view of the stability in the potato market. It had earlier been directed that the cold storages were to be cleared by 30 November. The move will help traders retain stocks for some more time and release it as per demand. Around 13.7 lakh metric tonnes of potatoes are stocked in the cold storages presently. 
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee today held a meeting of the task force to take an account of the prices of essential commodities. Later, Mitra said that the situation has “somewhat” improved, with potatoes being available in the market at Rs 13 per kg.
A sub-committee has been formed with the agriculture marketing secretary, commissioner of police, director general of police, officials of the enforcement branch and traders, which will monitor the price and availability of potatoes and onions on a daily basis, said Mr Mitra, though he claimed that the prices have started becoming stable.
Consumers had earlier complained that potatoes sold at government rates were of poor quality. But Mr Mitra said : “We had received a few complaints about the quality but these are not valid.”