Concerned over rising prices of potato, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today directed officials of all departments concerned to stop its export to other states and neighbouring countries immediately till prices returned to normal levels.
Speaking after an emergency meeting of the Task Force on Price Rise, state Agriculture Minister Purnendu Bose told reporters that the state government had already issued two orders - one to stop export of the vegetable and the other to fix a ceiling on stock of it by the wholesale and retail traders.
"While traders in wholesale markets will be able to stock a maximum of 2,000 quintals of potato and 500 quintals of onion, the limit for traders in retail markets is 50 quintals for potato and 20 quintals for onion. The police will take action against any one trying to violate this order," Bose said.
The CM cautioned officials of the departments concerned for a failure to execute government orders properly to prevent rise in potato prices, while asking the traders also to abide by the government directives, sources said pleading anonymity.
Originally the Task Force on Price Rise was scheduled to meet on August 11, but the Chief Minister hurriedly called the emergency meeting today.
The secretary of the Forum of Traders' Organisation (West Bengal), Rabindra Nath Koley said that the traders had assured the Chief Minister that they would strictly abide by the directives of the state government.
Koley said the CM had also directed the police to seize trucks carrying the tuber and sell the quantity at the rate of Rs 14 per kg.
Restrictions on sale of potato outside the state was imposed in June this year.
The state still has sufficient stock of potato which would help meet its demand till December when the next crop would be available, he said.
'' The CM cautioned officials of the departments concerned for a failure to execute government orders properly to prevent rise in potato prices, while asking the traders also to abide by the government directives, sources said pleading anonymity.'' This would help noone except the government officials who will now take bribes from the hoarders. Add to that the pary comrades who take as their birthright to get their commission on everything. The common people will pay more, as usual.