Bhubaneswar , 5/10 ( Odisha Samachar / IMC ) – The National Human Rights Commission has directed to the Government of west bengal to take necessary steps towards supply of potato to neighboring state Odisha. Acting on a complaint of Odisha based rights activist Akhand, the commission has said to the Chief Secretary of WB to act within eight weeks time.
Akhand alleged before the commission that West Bengal Government had put restriction on the inter-state transportation of potato which halted the supply of the tuber to Odisha in month of August 2014.
Potato laden trucks from West Bengal were forced to lye stranded at different check gates. With the West Bengal Government restricting transportation of potato beyond its borders resulting in sudden rise of potato price in Odisha,
People of Odisha are suffering very much as this act is done in a time when Odisha is badly suffered by a high flood, said Akhand. Odisha is solely dependent on potatoes from Bengal. Because according
to the departmental data, while Odisha requires 912.859 thousand tonnes of potatoes per year, it produces no more than 201.05 thousand tonnes, a shortfall of 711.854 thousand tonnes which is met with imports from outside, primarily the neighboring State of West Bengal. This year, the potato production is Bengal was nearly Rs 95 lakh tonnes (1 crore tonnes as per the government). The 430 potato cold storages in the state can stock only about 60 lakh tonnes. The remaining has to be sold fast. Potato is stocked into the cold
storages in December and brought out in March. Between December and February, people have the new potato available in the market. At present, there are 31 lakh tonnes of potato stocked in the cold
storages. “So there was no need to restriction of transportation of Potato to Odisha. But WB Government intentionally did not supply the tuber to Odisha”, alleged Akhand. NHRC has taken cognizance in the matter and directed the Chief Secretary of the West Bengal to “take such action as deemed appropriate. “The authority concerned is directed to take appropriate action within 8 weeks and to inform the complainant of the action taken in the matter”, said the direction of the Commission.