Amid distress sale, cold storages in Odisha launch stir

Balasore/Bhubaneswar: At a time when tomato farmers are being forced to dump their produce confronted by the spectre of distress sale, the Odisha Cold Storage Association has begun an indefinite strike from today alleging lack of government support.

Following potato scarcity in the year 2015, the Odisha government had established 26 cold storages across the State. Out of which 24 are lying defunct. With production targets not being achieved under Potato Mission and higher costs of operation, cold storage owners claimed that they are facing huge losses.

The cold storage association has launched protests demanding Rs 2 crore financial assistance and 50% subsidy on electricity dues.

“Every cold storage has capacity of 5000 metric tonne, out of which not even 100 tonne is being utilised,” said vice-president of cold storage owners’ association, Suresh Ranjan Sahu.

“We have incurred losses in the last 3 years. Our demand is that government should use our capacity and give us subsidy,” owner of Utkal Cold Storage in Rourkela, Pravat Kumar Tibrewal said.

The strike will affect nearly 5 lakh farmers across the state. Such strike is expected to increase prices of vegetables while posing a threat to employment of 10,000 people.