Fix potato MSP at Rs.500 in Bengal: BJP
Kolkata, March 14 : Iterating that potato growers in West Bengal were facing a crisis due to lack of space in cold storages and low market demand, the BJP Thursday asked the government to fix a minimum support price (MSP) of at least Rs.500 per 50-kg packet of the tuber.
In a memorandum to Chief Secretary Sanjay Mitra, state BJP president Rahul Sinha also demanded that potatoes be procured through the government's procurement system.
"You are aware that this year, potato farmers are facing a critical condition because of lack of space in cold storages and lack of demand in the market," said the memorandum.
It said the cost of producing tuber had gone up this year due to "three-fold increase in fertiliser and seed prices, 50 percent increment in irrigation water price and 50 percent rise in labour cost".
"But because of poverty and lack of storing problem, it has been undersold, forcing farmers to starve or commit suicide."
Recalling that last year, farmers sold a 50-kg packet of potatoes for Rs.480-Rs.500, the memorandum said they were getting a market price of Rs.160-Rs.180.
As a result, most of the farmers are not picking up potato from their fields.
"We request you to immediately declare a minimum support price of at least Rs.500 per packet of 50 kg and procure the same through the government procurement system," it said.