Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Oct 5:
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has directed the West Bengal government to take necessary measures to ensure normalisation of potato supply to Odisha within eight weeks.
The directive of the Commission has come in response to a complaint filed by human rights activist Akhand alleging that the restrictions imposed by the West Bengal government on supply of potato in August this year had made the plight of the people of Odisha miserable due to an exorbitant rise in its price.
The petitioner had contended that out of a total requirement of 912.859 thousand tonnes of potatoes per year, Odisha produces only around 201.05 thousand tonnes and meets the shortfall of 711.854 thousand tonnes with imports from the neighbouring states, especially West Bengal.
Stating that potato production in West Bengal was nearly 95 lakh tonnes this year, Akhand said of the total production, the West Bengal government can store a maximum of 69 lakh tonnes of potato at the 430 cold stores in the state while the rest is meant for transportation to the neighbouring states.
“Considering the above, there should be no restrictions in the transport of potato to Odisha. However, the West Bengal government has deliberately put curbs on the supply to Odisha”, he pointed out.
Acting on the complaints, the Commission later directed the chief secretary of West Bengal to take appropriate action to normalise supply within eight weeks and to inform the complainant of the action taken in this regard.