GUWAHATI, June 5 � The prices of potato in Guwahati and other parts of the State are soaring abnormally mainly because of the failure of the Food and Civil Supplies Department to keep a close watch on the market as there is a vast gap between the wholesale and retain prices.
The retail price of potato in some markets of the State went up to Rs 24 a kilogram, which is much higher than the wholesale price of the item. Interestingly, though the price of potato all over the country recorded some increase in recent times, it is still much lower than the prices in Assam.
Sources in the Potato and Onion Merchants� Association told The Assam Tribune that the wholesale rates of potato today was between Rs 12 to Rs 14 per kilogram and the price of average quality was Rs 13 a Kg. Sources said that the gap between the wholesale and retain prices should not be more than Rs four a kg, but unfortunately, because of the failure of the Food and Civil Supplies Department to keep a close watch on the market, some retailers and traders are selling the item at exorbitant prices.
Sources said that at present, the traders are bringing potato from West Bengal and Agra. The wholesale prices in both the places are around Rs 1050 per quintal. The transportation cost of one quintal of potato from Agra by road is around Rs 250 per quintal and the cost to bring the same from West Bengal is around Rs 150 to Rs 180 per quintal.
Merchant Association sources said that the cold storages in most of the potato producing states have started releasing the item only recently and the prices are likely to fall next month.
It may be mentioned here that according to records available, the price of potato in most states of the country is much lower than in this part of the country, particularly Assam. According to the mandi prices available on the internet, the wholesale prices of potato ranged between Rs 500 to Rs 1000 per quintal in Punjab today. The price in Shillong was Rs 1000 per quintal, it is between Rs 700 to Rs 1300 in Haryana, Rs 950 to Rs 1200 in Maharashtra and between Rs 1000 to Rs 1160 in Delhi.
Even if the transportation cost is taken into account, the retail price of potato in Guwahati should not be as high as Rs 24 per kg and what is interesting is that there is a vast difference of the prices from market to market.