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Potato traders strike in Bengal called off

The three-day strike called by potato traders in West Bengal from tomorrow to protest a condition set by the government for a partial relaxation of the export ban was withdrawn today.

“We requested the potato traders to withdraw the strike and they have done so,” state Agriculture Marketing Minister Arup Roy told PTI here.

Earlier, Trinamool Congress General Secretary Mukul Roy had urged potato traders not to go ahead with the strike since Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee would be away in North Bengal from September 1 and should talk to the administration.

Both the Agriculture Minister and the TMC leader said the government was considerate and after meeting the state’s requirement, it had no objection to transport of potatoes to other states.

Last Monday, the state government had told potato traders that they would be allowed to export 700 tonne daily to other states, provided they supplied 300 tonne of the tubers to the West Bengal government at a price of Rs 12 per kilo to be sold to fair price shops.

The Pragatishil Aloo Byabsayee Samiti, the largest organisation of potato traders in the state, had called the strike.Santanu Manna, the president of the Samiti, had earlier questioned how this was possible when they bought the Jyoti variety of potato from farmers at Rs 13 a kilo, which included cold storage and transport charges, before being sent to wholesale markets.

The price at that stage then became Rs 16 a kilo, he had said.

The state government had earlier banned supply of potatoes to other states in view of the three-day strike called by the potato traders from tomorrow.

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