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Indian state gov't to go after illegal hoarders

Publication Date : 18-07-2012


The state government of West Bengal will take action against people who are illegally hoarding essential commodities in the name of forward trading, because they are creating artificial shortages and pushing up prices, Chief minister Mamata Banerjee said at Writers’ Buildings yesterday.  

Banerjee said both forward trading and the decontrolled market for fertilisers are affecting people. "We have urged the Centre (central government) to give subsidies for fertilisers to support farmers, who spend a lot for cultivation by buying high-priced fertilisers to produce crops," she said.    

Today, she met agriculture marketing minister Arup Roy and task force members, and discussed the steep increases in prices of pulses and other essential commodities. Hoarders are increasing prices for their own gains, but the state government will not allow illegal storage of essential commodities, she said, adding that government will prepare a list of illegal hoarders. 

She claimed, however, that following monitoring by the task force, market prices of vegetables and several other commodities had come down by 50 per cent. Potato prices remained the same at around 14 rupees (US$0.25) per kg, she said, adding that officials had been asked to visit markets to maintain a strict vigil against inflated potato prices. 

Farmers should get the right prices for the vegetables they produce, and they should have control over the market without the interference of middlemen, she said. Banerjee said the state government would give subsidies to farmers to set up greenhouses--200 square-foot polythene houses--for growing vegetables. 

Greenhouses can protect plants from heavy rain or scorching heat, reducing the change of crop damage. Around 100 farmers have been chosen for this project, and each will get a greenhouse; the state government will pay half the cost. More farmers will benefit from the project, she said.


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