Bengal has enough stocks of salt, says minister

Kolkata, Nov 16 : With the price of salt skyrocketing after rumours of a shortage triggered panic buying of the commodity in parts of West Bengal, food and supplies minister Jyotipriya Mallick claimed here Saturday that the state has sufficient stocks of salt.

"At this moment we have enough stock of salt to last for more than eight months for the entire state. Even today (Saturday) we received fresh supply of salt. I want to assure there is no shortage," Mallick said after a meeting with department officials.

People were seen queuing outside shops since Thursday in Darjeeling, North Dinajpur, South Dinajpur, Cooch Behar and Jalpaiguri districts with salt being sold anywhere between Rs.100 to Rs.150 a kg.

Mallick said he held a meeting with salt traders from across the state as well as food department officials to ensure the supply of salt and its price is normalised at the earliest.

The administration has not only issued a notification rubbishing the rumours but is also carrying out raids to check hoarders and traders indulging in black marketing. So far, over a dozen people have been arrested.

With Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressing concern over the issue, Mallick said the situation was steadily normalising.

"She (Banerjee) called me up last night (Friday) expressing concern. I assured her the department was working on a war footing to take action against those selling salt at exorbitant prices. We are also assuring the public about sufficient stock of salt," added Mallick.

--IANS (Posted on 16-11-2013)

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