Potato prices are expected to come down by as much as Rs 10 per kg in West Bengal. Prices of the tuber had skyrocketed in the past few months and are now near Rs 50 per kg. They are now set to cool down to Rs 40 per kg in West Bengal over the next few days, an official of a cold storage association in the state said Wednesday.
The official of the West Bengal Cold Storage Association further informed PTI that the wholesale rates of different varieties kept at the cold storage gate have dipped by Rs 5 per kg in the last three days, and that it is likely to come down further to around Rs 28, enabling the market price for potatoes to be below Rs 40.
However, when compared to the prices from previous years in the early period of December in the state, this seems much higher than when it used to hang about Rs 15 per kg and the market awaited new crops.
The official also mentioned that the produce from Punjab has started entering the state, but in miniscule quantities, and that the state's own produce will be ready for harvest by the end of December.
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A notice by the West Bengal government dated November 27 had asked the 465-odd cold storage owners to clear their stocks by November 30, lest they be met with repercussions. However, the West Bengal government has extended these timelines multiple times in the past.
Panic has ensued among the cold storage owners post the serving of the notice, and the release of crops is higher than anticipated. Over the last three days, potato prices have eased by Rs 5 per kg at the cold storage gate and is likely to dip further. By December 7, about 50 per cent of the cold storages will be able to empty their stocks, while the rest are expected to do so by mid-December.
As of now, there is about 6-8 lakh tonnes (10 per cent) of potatoes still packed in the cold storages and coordinating with the potato packet owners might take some time, the official said. "If the government turns strict and the potatoes are brought out of the cold storages in a single go then it will rot," he said, while urging the government to be rational.