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    The West Bengal state government today started selling potato at Rs 13 a kilo, a price pegged by Mamata Banerjee, on a day the largest umbrella organisation of potato traders in Bengal began a three-day strike to protest the administration’s ban on selling the tuber to other states.

    The Progressive Potato Traders’ Organisation has decided not to take stocks out of cold storages, which might lead to a shortage in the supply of potato in the wholesale and retail markets.

    “We have started selling potato at Rs 13 a kilo. This will be done till the situation becomes normal,” agri-marketing minister Arup Roy said.

    In Calcutta, the government is selling potato in retail markets in Gariahat, Lake Market, Maniktala, Shyambazar, Rajabazar, Nagerbazar and Salt Lake’s Karunamoyee.

    Officials of several government agencies such as the enforcement directorate and the agricultural marketing department carried out raids in markets across the state today.

    Agriculture minister Malay Ghatak said he was making arrangements for 100 bags of potato to be sent to Burdwan’s Ukhra, where local traders have stopped selling the tuber.

    “The wholesale price of potato is Rs 11.50 a kilo. If we sell it at Rs 13 a kilo, it will not cover the cost,” said Pinaki Saha, a trader in Malda.

    Lalu Mukherjee, the president of the Progressive Potato Traders’ Organisation, said the outfit called the strike as the ban on sale outside the state would hurt the traders.

    “Every year, around 8 lakh tonnes are supplied to other states,” Mukherjee said.

    Source: Telegraph India