GUWAHATI, Sept 2 � Both the retailers and the bulk traders of potatoes in Guwahati have ruled out any scarcity of the commodity in the markets of Assam.
The traders expressed apprehension that the hoax about acute shortage of potato would help the unscrupulous elements of the society to take advantage of the situation.
�It is true that the rates of potatoes went up abruptly due to various reasons. Heavy rainfall destroying the crops in UP and Punjab and an undeclared ban by the West Bengal government in the export of the potato produced in the neighbouring State aggravated the condition that led to price hike. However, the entire State is getting adequate supply of potatoes from UP now and there is no shortage of the commodity,� said a wholesale potato trader of Fancy Bazar.
The bulk rate of the UP produce was Rs 2,500 to Rs 2,700 per quintal, whereas potatoes produced in West Bengal were being sold at the rate of Rs 2,200 to Rs 2,300.
On condition of anonymity, the trader told The Assam Tribune that potatoes produced in West Bengal were reaching Guwahati market after a heavy �under the table� transaction that led to a cost escalation of the humble vegetable.
�During this season Assam largely depends on the West Bengal variety of potatoes and the ban has upset the price mechanism here. The government should take steps in this regard with the neighbouring State,� he added.
After the news of scarcity in the market two weeks back, the State government had also assured people about the availability of potatoes in the 14 cold storages of the State.
The highest retail rate recorded in the market today was Rs 32 per kg. The Shillong produce, however, was being sold at a higher rate of Rs 3,400 per quintal.
Ruling out the supply shortage in the market, the retailers said that higher percentage of damage in the season�s crop was one of the major reasons behind the rate hike in retail market. �The customers choose the best of the potatoes from the lot. However, we do not have this option while buying from the bulk traders,� said Adil-uz-Zaman, a retailer.
�However, the hoax of potato shortage would only help the unscrupulous elements to take advantage of the situation and create panic among the buyers. Prolonged hoarding is also not possible due to the perishable nature of the commodity and the ongoing rainy season,� he added.