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Vanishing act of potatoes from West Bengal

The most unwanted and unnecessary control of the West Bengal government has triggered off in the potatoes being magically missing from the markets.

Perhaps this is a lifetime experience for the residents of Bengal, which they would definitely not cherish, that not even a single potato seller was present in an otherwise vibrant market running in full swing in prime time slots.

Though we must not question about the intention of the Government, but the wrong implementation of a policy apparently bearing a good objective has had a turbulent reaction in potato selling and buying. The potato sellers have been continuously exhibiting irk at the price ceiling set by the Government, which unfortunately did never bother to pay any heed.

In addition to the malpractices of the small businessmen, certain political problems have been equally responsible for such a chaotic condition related to potatoes. It is seemingly impossible to bring about any long term change in the tottering economic condition without a solid strategy. The gimmick-driven politicians always tend to adopt short term solutions without testing the prevailing environment in actual markets.

The government has allowed an apparently small problem to swell out of proportion due to inaccurate steps towards taking an upper hand in controlling the vegetable market price.

Any logical brain would accept that the vegetable sellers will fail to sell potatoes at a rate of Rs. 13 per kg, when they buy it from the resellers at Rs. 11 per Kg. The cost of procurement has suddenly flared up due to an increase in the cost of transportation and the evident step of elimination of rotten potatoes before selling it to their end consumers.

The Government might have taken its decision on basis of benefiting the commoners from such price hikes during the passing festive season, but it could not cast any long term impact. The potatoes have simply evaporated from the market immediately after the festive season due to a slack in the stringent vigilance policies, which had been implemented by the Government.

When Mamata Banerjee’s eventful stint on the West Bengal firmament loudly speaks of gimmicks, what else could we expect?

Perhaps the West Bengal State government can take a lesson from its counterpart at the center that it is better to set the market free from their grip. The Central Government has taken the right decision of slowly but inevitably releasing the control on Petrol and Diesel pricing.

It is indeed true that people below the poverty level will face an immense problem but the sanctioning subsidies received by them in various forms will come to their aid.

The Aadhaar card seems to be a revolutionary step towards distribution of various types of the subsidies from the Government without the rigmarole of middlemen.

Any systematic approach based on solid strategy and logic can only yield in the long term. We cannot expect such planned approaches from the astute and ruthlessly ambitious Mamata Banerjee Government that can both ensure the existence of potatoes in the market and also control its selling price.

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