by our special correspondent
While there is too much cacophony over CAA and NPR neither of the state or central is speaking of the rising markets that literally making citizens semi starved. While the presence of the state’s much hyped task force’s effectiveness is douted centre too is not taking any steps that may provide a relief to the comon citizens.
The price of green vegetables are soaring each day as common citizens have to cut their menus to adjust the monthly budget.In the backdrop of unemplyment , huge layoffs it is strange that none is speaking ovetr this issue. The attitude of Trinamul and BJP is such that CAA , NPA or NPR will help country to tide over or get submerged in it.
A special team formed by the West Bengal government conducted an inspection in vegetable markets of Kolkata on Friday to check whether there was artificial hike of vegetable prices in the city .Officials spoke to buyers and sellers to ascertain whether vegetables were being sold at prices listed by the state government. In many cases, they found that the sellers had raised vegetable prices exorbitantly – well above the wholesale prices – which led to the recent steep rise in vegetable prices.
Officials warned the sellers that action will be taken against them if they are found to continue selling vegetables at such steep prices.A meeting was held by chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday with the task force formed to control vegetable prices at the state administrative headquarters, Nabanna. The government wanted to ascertain and investigate the actual causes behind such a steep rise in prices and to seek appropriate measures to control prices.
The task force ensures that farmers are paid right prices for their crops because although the vegetables are sold at exorbitant prices in retail markets, the middlemen get the lion’s share of the profit and it doesn’t reach poor farmers.
Prices of vegetables have been on a steep rise after Durga Puja this year due to the extensive loss of crops by excess rainfall and the cyclone that hit parts of the state recently. Most of the crops in Howrah, Hooghly and South 24 Parganas were lost due to water logging from flooding and the recent cyclone.
Kolkata gets its vegetable supplies from these areas primarily. Crops in Bankura, Purulia and Murshidabad have also suffered huge damage. Moreover, onion prices have soared all over the country due to heavy monsoons and lowered production in the primary onion producing states like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
However, potato prices in the open market now have come down to nearly Rs 16 per kg, thanks to the strident measures by the state government to stop hoarding.“In the next 15 days vegetable prices are unlikely to come down, as the early crop has been completely destroyed in districts,” said Pranab Chatterjee, professor at Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya. While farmers have started fresh plantation of vegetables, the new crop is unlikely to arrive before the middle of December.
Meanwhile, paddy prices have also shot up to Rs 15 a kg, against normal price of Rs 11 per kg, and the MSP of Rs 10 per kg.More than 70 per cent of paddy crop in Purba Medinipur, Paschim Medinipur, Purulia , Hooghly and Bankura have been affected. The five districts account for nearly 30 per cent the state’s total rice production. About 1,00,000 tonne of paddy seeds are feared to be destroyed in the floods.
West Bengal produces nearly 13334 thousand tones of vegetables each year, grown over 943 thousand hectares of land.In July-August, floods in nine of the 19 districts in the state, including the high rice-productivity districts of Bardhaman, Hooghly, Birbhum and Nadia, destroyed a part of standing crop.