The retail price of potato has failed to come down despite fall in its price in the wholesale market and free flow from neighbouring West Bengal. Blame it on the enforcement agencies of the Government. It has been over a week that the wholesale price of potato has come down to the pre-crisis level, but the retail price has remained static at Rs 20 a kg for no plausible reason.
“I do not find any reason for the high price of the vegetable when it is available at ` 1,100-1,200 a quintal at the wholesale market. There is something wrong with the system and the Government is to blame for the unreasonable price of potato,” said secretary of Aiginia Potato Merchants Association Shakti Sampad Mishra.
Reacting sharply to the high margin of profit, Mishra said the normal practice is to charge Rs 2 to 4 a kg after taking into account the transportation cost and wastage of the vegetable in a packet of 40-50 kg. Keeping a margin of Rs 8-9 a kg is nothing less than a criminal act, he remarked.
While the consumers are being fleeced by the retailers day in and day out, the enforcement wing of the Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare department is doing nothing.
What is more galling is the callous attitude of the Government which has not shown an iota of interest to rein in the price by taking action against the unscrupulous traders. Ironically, the market intelligence wing of the department is reporting the market prices of essential commodities to the Government on daily basis.
As the Government failed in its duty, the potato merchant association has taken the initiative to create awareness among the passive public.
As part of the awareness programme, the association has decided to open retail outlets at selective places of the city to sell potato, Mishra said.