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Odisha heading for yet another potato crisis

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Aug 31:

Odisha seems to be heading for yet another round of potato crisis as the supplies from West Bengal through the Laxmananath check gate on the state’s border with West Bengal has stopped since Saturday, sources said.

potatoSources, however said, 35 potato-laden trucks from West Bengal managed to enter Odisha through the Jamshola check gate on the state’s border with Jharkhand taking a circuitous route.

The Potato Traders Federation of West Bengal has given a call for a three-day strike beginning September 1 to protest their state government’s decision not to allow export of potatoes to other states including Odisha.

An office bearer of the Federation speaking to a local television channel over phone said the West Bengal government’s decision not to allow sale of potatoes outside West Bengal has resulted in heavy losses for the potato traders. He said the Federation has decided to go on a three day strike from September 1 to put pressure on the government to withdraw its decision.

Potato is being sold at Rs 26 to Rs 28 a kg and in some parts at Rs 30 a kg in the retail markets in the state capital when the  price of potato at the  wholesale market at Aiginia was as low as Rs 1,800 a quintal on Friday.

It is clear that the much-touted understanding reached between the potato traders and the state government to maintain a maximum difference of Rs 2.50 per kilo between the wholesale and retail prices has simply failed to deliver. This has also exposed the hollowness of the Food Supply and Consumer Welfare department’s claims that it was keeping a close watch over the market to prevent black marketing and hoarding of the essential item.