Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Aug 11:
A high level meeting, chaired by Food Supply and Consumer Welfare minister Sanjay Dasburma to take stock of the continuing potato crisis in Odisha ended a little while ago without finding a solution.
Briefing newsmen after the meeting, Dasburma said the state government is keeping a close watch on the situation in West Bengal where potato trader associations are on dharna protesting against the state government’s decision to stop movement of potato into Odisha.
“After observing developments in the traders’ protest in West Bengal and its government’s reaction through the day, the state government will have another meeting in the evening to take a decision,” Dasburma said.
The minister said the potato crisis in Odisha was due to the undeclared curbs imposed by the West Bengal government on the transport of potatoes to the state. A total of 90 truckloads of potatoes have arrived in Odisha through Jamshola and other border check gates, he added.
While announcing that government’s market intervention would continue till the crisis eases, the minister said the government will continue to sell the kitchen essential through PDS and Maitree stores in the state.
He said the price of potatoes was stable in the state at present and the four government cold storages had potato stocks of 32,000 quintals in Bhubaneswar, 34,800 quintals in Cuttack and 20,000 quintals in Baleswar.
Movement of potato laden trucks into Odisha was disrupted again Sunday after a day’s respite. Transport of this all important vegetable from the neighbouring state had resumed Saturday prompting the Odisha government to announce that the potato crisis in the state was over.
Several hundred trucks have been stopped near the check gate at Odisha-Bengal border due to security checks by West Bengal police, sources said.
At key markets in Cuttack and Bhubaneswar, potato is being sold at Rs 24 a kilo at wholesale points while retailers are charging anywhere between Rs 29 to Rs 32 a kg.
At state government-controlled shops, it is sold at Rs 20 per kg but rationed at two kilo per person. At the outlets of Udyan Fresh, an undertaking of state horticulture department, potato is priced Rs 23 per kg with a cap of five kilo per person.
The 3, 000 qunitals of potato requisitioned by the state government from the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) will reach from Kanpur around Tuesday, sources said.