Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Dec 18:
Potato prices continue to remain very high at Rs 25 per kilo in Odisha retail market, even though the price at godowns is only around Rs 12 following lifting of restrictions by the West Bengal government on transport of potato to the state.
It has been five days since the West Bengal government has lifted all restrictions on transport of potato it had imposed three months ago. But retailers continue to make a killing though the prices at the godowns
Aiginia Kuberpuri cold storage and godowns, one of the largest in the capital city Bhubaneswar, is receiving approximately 90 truckloads of potato every day. Given the ample supply, the prices have come down to Rs 12 per kilo at this wholesale market.
As per rules of government, the retailers can sell potato at a price that is a maximum three rupees higher than the buying price at Aiginia Kuberpuri wholesale godown. Going by the rules, the price should have been set at Rs 15 per kilo. However, even the government owned vegetable and grocery store ‘Udyan Fresh’ is selling potatoes for Rs 20-22. The consumers shell out Rs 25 or even more per kilo at retail shops across the city. While the price hangs around Rs 18-20 per kilo at the capital market, it is significantly higher at other places in the city.
The rising prices in Odisha market has given another opportunity to Bengal hoarders and suppliers to decrease supply for another round of price hike in order to make even more profits. The supply to Aiginia wholesale market, which used to be 90 truckloads of potato per day, has suddenly come down to 54 trucks per day since yesterday.
This decrease in supply has pushed the prices upwards by Rs 2 per kilo in the wholesale market to make it Rs 14 per kilo in the Aiginia wholesale godown. As secretary of Kuberpuri traders association, Shakti Shankar Mishra asks, “If government can’t control the retailers who buy at Rs 12 from us and sell at Rs 25, why should the Bengal suppliers miss the opportunity?”
The Supply officer of Khurda, however, claimed he was unaware of the reduction of price in wholesale market and promised prompt action to curb the price rise.
Bhubaneswar ADM Abanikant Patnaik said, “As per information provided to me by our marketing inspectors, the wholesale price of potatoes at godowns stand at Rs 18 per kilo. I am unaware about the new selling price of Rs 14. I will speak to the inspectors and take necessary action.”
While both the supply officer and ADM have promised action for price correction, the motive of marketing inspectors behind providing wrong information to superiors remains unclear.