Chief Secretary Alapan Bandypadhyay told reporters at Nabanna that in order to help potato farmers in the state, the government will allow cold storage owners to purchase at least 10 lakh MT of potatoes from the farmers at Rs 6 a kg.

WITH MONTHS to go for the Assembly polls, the state government on Tuesday announced a breather for potato farmers and cold storage owners of the state.

Anticipating a bumper harvest of potatoes this season and to ensure that the farmers get enough price for the potato, the West Bengal Cabinet on Monday decided to allow cold storage owners to purchase potatoes from the farmers at reasonable prices, a senior official of the state government said.

Chief Secretary Alapan Bandypadhyay told reporters at Nabanna that in order to help potato farmers in the state, the government will allow cold storage owners to purchase at least 10 lakh MT of potatoes from the farmers at Rs 6 a kg.

“It is assumed that this season we will have a bumper cultivation of potatoes. Resulting in the lakh of potato farmers in Hooghly, Purba Bardhaman, Paschim Medinipu, Bankura, Coochebehar, Jalpaiguri, Alipurduar, Howrah and Uttar Dinajpur may not get the exact price. The Cabinet has decided to allow cold storage owners to purchase potatoes from the farmers at a reasonable price,” Bandyopadhyay said.

The state government is assuming that initially the potato supply will be higher than the demand. If potato is put in cold storage now in enough numbers, at the time of non-potato season it can be distributed and the price of potato can be controlled. The state will also help the owners of the cold storage in case they require any bank loans, he said.

“When the demand is more but no production they can sell it. The whole initiative is to assure that the farmers get a minimum price and do not face any loss,” he added.

The Cabinet also decided to utilise Rs 345 crore for the rehabilitation and improvement dams and barrages in the state, Bandyopadhyay said.

“Out of the Rs 345 crores, the World Bank will provide an aid of 70 per cent and the rest 30 per cent will be provided by the state government. Under the dams and barrages rehabilitation and improvement project works will be carried out at Massanjore Dam, small reservoir on the Kangsabati Dam, Shilabati river (in Purulia) in Tilpara Mihirlal Barrage (in Panagarh) and others in Bardhaman, Bankura,” state Irrigation & Waterways Department secretary Naveen Prakash said.

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