Jharkhand began receiving 500 tonnes of potato per day from Thursday after the West Bengal government decided to resume supplies for 10 days under pressure from its potato traders who had threatened to go on strike.
But that is still half the requirement of Jharkhand which consumes about 1,000 tonnes of potato a day.
The West Bengal government has said it will review its decision on continuing with supplies on August 25.
Talking to HT, secretary of the West Bengal Progressive Potato Traders' Association Baren Mandal said, “The West Bengal government has decided to release 5,000 tonnes of potato to other states including 500 tonnes to Jharkhand till August 23.”
“The amount of potato to be sent would neither serve the purpose of potato suppliers of West Bengal nor would it meet the demands of the Jharkhand consumers. We have appealed to the Mamata government to lift the restriction completely.”
West Bengal’s potato traders held a meeting on Wednesday and resolved to go on a three-day strike from August 19 against the state’s decision to restrict supply of potato outside the state. Unless allowed to sell outside West Bengal, the state’s potato traders face the prospect of losses after a bumper crop this year.
Bibhas Kumar Dey, an official of the state’s potato traders’ association, said, “In view of the strike call, the Mamata government decided to give some relaxation in supply, though in a hurry.”
For instance, Ranchi got 1500 quintals of potato against a requirement of 2,200 quintals.
Potato wholesalers at Pandra Krishi Bazar, Ranchi, said supplies had increased but it was still insufficient.
Sambhu Gupta, chairman of wholesale committee of the Federation of Jharkhand Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FJJCI), said, “The supply of 500 tonnes of potato by the West Bengal government will hardly meet 5% of the state demands in 10 days.”
He said the state government must talk to the Bengal government to increase the supply quota to bring down the prices of potato.
Jharkhand Truck Owners Association (JTOA), which has decided to go on strike from August 18, has welcomed the Bengal government's decision to restore potato supply partially.
JTOA president Uday Shankar said, “It is a small step but the Mamata government at least considered the issue of Jharkhand. We hope she would increase the quota further.”