Politics over potato hots up in Odisha

Bhubaneswar: While ministers and BJD leaders are busy blaming each other on the issue of the steep rise in the price of potato in the state, the BJP has taken a potshot at the state government for its failure in arresting the price rise.

Criticising the state government on the issue, senior BJP leader and Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan said the administrative machinery of the state government is gradually coming to a standstill.

“Except some perfunctory action, the BJD government has been hoodwinking the people of Odisha. Isn’t it ridiculous that a government which is in power since 17-18 in the state is not in a position to ensure adequate supply of potato to the people? Instead of taking urgent steps to bail out the consumers, the government will institute a commission of inquiry and the commission will not find any head or tail of the matter. Not only this, the ministers will blame each other over the issue. This is utterly deplorable,” he pointed out.

A day after the allegation made by Cooperation minister Damodar Rout that the callousness of the bureaucrats had resulted in the rise in the price of potato, BJD spokesperson Pratap Jena today said ministers should not look for an escape route by blaming the bureaucrats.

“There has to be a proper coordination among the Agriculture, Cooperation and the Supply departments to regulate the price of potato. We the leaders should not find an escape route by holding the bureaucrats accountable. The ministers should personally take responsibility and find a way to bring down the price of potato”.

Notably, Rout on Friday had told the media that as discussed earlier, he had asked the concerned officials of the registered cooperative societies to operationalise the defunct cold storages.

“Despite my efforts to make them understand the gravity of the situation, they are not in a mood to listen. That’s why I had said that the hindrances are due to the callousness of the bureaucrats,” Rout told OTV on Saturday.

Senior Congress leader and leader of the Opposition, Narasingh Mishra said the Alu (potato) scheme has met the same fate as other programmes of the state government, all of which have failed.