Who will uproot you over prices of potatoes and onions, Mamata asks Shah


PTI, Nov 6, 2020, 10:55 AM IST

Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday hit out at Union Home Minister Amit Shah for asking the people of the state to “uproot ” the TMC government in the 2021 state polls. She said it was the duty of the Centre to ensure that the people could buy the essential foodstuff they need.

Banerjee said she will write to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to restore the states’ power to control prices of essential food items like potato and onion, which have sky-rocketed, or the Centre should take control of the pricing itself.

The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act in which potatoes and onions were removed from the list of key food commodities, is “anti people” and aimed at protecting black marketeers and the hoarders, she said.

Hitting out at Shah, who was on a two-day visit to West Bengal to check the poll preparedness ahead of the 2021 state polls, the TMC supremo, who is a strident critic of the saffron party, said, “You will uproot Mamata Banerjee government. Who will uproot you for such increase in the prices of potatoes and onions? You have to see what people will eat. There is a pandemic going on in the market too.”

Blaming the Centre for the increase in the prices of the two staple food commodities, she said “It’s a very worrisome situation that the Central government has totally failed in controlling the price of potatoes and onions. It is also not letting the state government take control of the price of these items, which has resulted in steep price rise,” Banerjee said at an administrative review meeting at the Secretariat.

Stating that she will write to the prime minister for restoring the states’ power with respect to controlling prices of essential food items, Banerjee said several states have already done so. “Or else you (Centre) take control of the prices; I do not have any problem. I can foresee people dying without food,” she said.

Continuing her attack against the BJP-led government at the Centre for the law, Banerjee said “I do not understand why suddenly their focus shifted to the essential commodities. The bill was passed to protect the hoarders and the black marketeers. This is an anti-people bill… The result is the price hike.”

The chief minister said that the price of potatoes and onions are rising at a time when people have lost their jobs amid the economic slowdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Banerjee asked chief secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay, who was present at the meeting, to conduct a survey by a combined team of the enforcement and the agricultural departments to keep a check on any wrongdoings in the increase in prices of the two food commodities.

The Parliament had on September 23 passed the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill to remove cereals, pulses, oilseeds, edible oils, onion and potatoes from the list of essential commodities.

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