West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to urgently intervene to bring down prices of essential commodities like onions and potatoes in the state.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday on the hoarding of essential commodities after the three contentious farm bills, as well as amendments to the Essential Commodities Act, were passed.
In her letter, CM Mamata Banerjee said that the new bills are encouraging the hoarding and black-marketing of essential commodities like onions and potatoes.
“The amendments are seriously encouraging hoarders in hoarding and profiteering on essential items like potatoes and onions etc, thereby resulting into price rise and consequent sufferings to the consumers and the common people,” she wrote in a four-page letter to PM Modi.
Mamata Banerjee also claimed that the new laws have “effectively usurped the powers of the state government in facilitating the supply, distribution and sale of essential food items to common public” as well as the regulation of “unscrupulous market forces”.
Mamata Banerjee also urged PM Modi to permit the states to bring about appropriate legislation in regard to their exercising control over the production, supply, distribution and sale of the agricultural commodities.
“… The state governments being now devoid of its powers cannot be expected to remain a silent spectator to the ongoing sufferings of the common people due to extraordinary price rise of potato and onion-like essential commodities,” the letter said.
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.
In her letter, CM Mamata Banerjee urged PM Modi to restore the states’ power to control prices of essential food items like potato and onion, which have skyrocketed, or the Centre should take control of the pricing itself.
“I would seek your kind and urgent intervention as the State govt being now devoid of its powers cannot be expected to remain a silent spectator to the ongoing sufferings of the common people due to extraordinary price rise of essential commodities,” Mamata Banerjee added.
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.