Bengal to review supply of agricultural produce every fortnight

Kolkata:  In a bid to contain rising prices, the West Bengal government on Thursday decided to review the supply of agricultural produce in the market every 15 days and fix their rates if necessary, an official statement said. A high-level meeting attended by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and heads of various related departments also decided to sell potatoes in areas where the required government infrastructure was available so as to ensure the price of the tuber did not exceed Rs 14 a kilo. "Our plan is to make the state self-sufficient in potato seeds. We will also increase production of green chillies, pulses and onions," said the statement. The meeting noted that price of agricultural products was comparatively higher in Bengal than the other states and held the increase in railway freight rates and charges of other transport services responsible for the escalation. Fish production has gone up to 16.5 lakh metric ton in 2015-16,as against the demand for 17.2 lakh metric tonnes. The state government has set a target to raise the production to 18 lakh metric tonnes in 2016-17. The statement claimed that the difference between the supply and demand was due to the increase in the people's purchasing power as a result of the state government's development initiatives over the past five years. To prevent distress sale by farmers and ensure they gate fair price for their crops and vegetables, 30 air-conditioned vehicles are operational in the state. Similarly to protect the interest of fishermen, 25 other air-conditioned vehicles are operational. Fifty more air-conditioned vehicles would be deployed in the next few days with regard to the food processing sector, said the statement, adding the state government would also take up food processing projects on public-private-partnership model by using improved technology.