Odisha cold storage owners to launch agitation from Feb 22

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Cold Storage Association has threatened to resort to agitation from February 22 if the government fails to come up with plans for the revival of cold storages across the State.

Alleging that the cold storages have been left dysfunctional after the alleged failure of Potato Mission in the State, the Association demanded that the government should provide Rs 2 crore to each cold storage operators.

The operators have also demanded to provide subsidy of 50 per cent on electricity tariff for cold storages and cut the rate of interest on bank loans taken by the operators.

The members of the association further alleged that despite having apprised the government about their problems earlier, no steps were taken which is why they have decided to launch a state-wide agitation from February 22.

“Under the State Potato Mission, the concerned department had targeted to increase the amount of potato cultivation in Odisha. Lured by such ambitious programme, the owners took loans of around Rs 5 to 6 crore from banks to set up cold storages for storing potatoes. Due to insufficient production of potatoes, the cold storages were left empty,” said secretary of Odisha Cold Storage Association, Janardan Sahu.

“Besides, the government had also promised to provide subsidy on electricity tariff for the cold storages. However, the norms kept in the modalities for the subsidy were not practicable,” Sahu added.