Chandigarh: In view of the prevailing low prices of potato in the state, the Punjab government has directed the Punjab Agro and Markfed to effectively intervene in the market on ‘no profit no loss’ basis to bail out the potato growers from the current crisis besides realising better prices to them.
Chairing an emergent meeting to take stock of the prevailing situation here at Chief Minister’s residence on Friday afternoon, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal decided to reduce the Market Fee and Rural Development Fee (RDF) on potatoes from 2 per cent each to 0.25 per cent. In addition, Badal also decided to slash the rates of commission charged by the Commission Agents from 5 per cent to 1 per cent with immediate effect.
The Chief Minister also asked the Punjab Agro and Markfed to explore the feasibility of export potential of potatoes to Russia, Dubai, Iran, Sri Lanka and other countries for which the state government would subsidise the freight. Apart from this, Agriculture department had also been directed to undertake distant marketing of potatoes in the other parts of the country to ensure better prices to the growers.
The Chief Minister also asked the Agriculture Department to ensure rational utilisation of storing capacity of cold stores across the state to curb the malpractices of hoarding in cold storage space.
It was also decided in the meeting to issue an advisory to the department of education and jails beside for other government institutions for optimum utilisation of potato in the mid day meal scheme and for the consumption of jail inmates for rich nourishment, which would also boost the sale of potato in the state.
Prominent amongst others who attended the meeting included Additional Chief Secretary to Chief Minister S K Sandhu, Special Principal Secretary Gaggandip Singh Brar, MD Punjab Agro K S Pannu, MD Markfed Gurkirat Kirpal Singh, Director Agriculture B S Sidhu, Director Horticulture Gurkanwal Singh, Chief General Manager Mandi Board Sikandar Singh and GM Punjab Agri Exports Ranbir Singh.
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