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Indian State Odisha Imposes Stock Limits On Potatoes to curb prices

Workers carry potatoes inside a cold storage at Aiginia in Bhubaneswar, Odisha (Courtesy: Telegraph India / Ashwinee Pati)

In a bid to rein in prices of potatoes, the government of the Indian State Odisha has imposed stock holding limits on this Indian staple.

b Food and Civil Supplies Minister, Surya Narayan Patro said the stock limit for potato has been fixed at 500 quintal for wholesalers in Cuttack and 350 quintal in cities likes Bhubaneswar, Berhampur, Sambalpur, Puri and Rourkela. For other places, the stock limit is 150 quintal, he added.

Besides, the department has served a notice to all district Collectors and Supplies officials asking them to take action against potato hoarders.

Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare department secretary, Vir Vikram Yadav, in a letter, has asked all district Collectors and Civil Supplies officials to keep a close watch on supply of potatoes in the market and ensure availability of the same to consumers at a reasonable price.

The Collectors have also been asked to take action against hoarders and unscrupulous traders under provisions of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955.

Vir Vikram Yadav:

“There is less production of potatoes in states like West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh that has led to rise in tuber prices in Odisha.”
Cuttack Civil Supplies Officer (CSO), Gyanendriya Mishra:

“We have visited four to five godowns [storages] and there is no shortage of potatoes. There is no need to panic.”

“Besides, we conduct raids frequently at various places in Cuttack. There are no reports of hoarding as of now.”

“If any such reports come in, we would take action.”

Potato Mission

In 2014-15 the government of Odisha launched a plan - titled Potato Mission - to achieve self-sufficiency in potato production and storage capacity. Unfortunately, the realized additional capacity fell far short of the set targets:

In 2014, Odisha had only 24 functional cold stores (6 in cooperative sector and 18 in private sector) with a capacity of 1,17,280 tonnes.

Estimating that 40 per cent of the potato production were damaged due to poor handling and storage, a task force constituted by the State Government had recommended establishment of 112 new cold storages with a cumulative capacity of 7.05 lakh (705,000) tonnes by March 31, 2018 of which 82 would be sanctioned under the State Plan.

However, the State could manage to increase the storage capacity to 2.12 lakh (212,000) tonnes and most of the new cold stores are constructed under private sector.

Eight more cold stores with a combined capacity of about 43,000 tonnes are under different stages of construction, official sources said.

Source: New Indian Express