Politics hots up over potato crisis in Odisha

Bhubaneswar, March 12 (IANS) As Odisha is staring at another potato crisis, politics has taken centre stage with opposition Congress and BJP blaming the BJD government for failing to regulate the steep rise of the staple in the state.

Meanwhile BJD leaders and ministers are blaming each other over the issue while some are passing the buck to the bureaucrats.

Attacking the state government over the potato crisis, union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Saturday said the administrative machinery of the government is gradually coming to a standstill. The Odisha government can only hoodwink the people. What could be more deplorable that a government, in power since last 17-18 years, is not in a position to ensure adequate supply of potato to the people?” he said.

The Bharatiya Janata Party leader said the government can only institute a commission of inquiry instead of taking urgent steps to ensure adequate supply of potato to the consumers.

“Not only this, the ministers are blaming each other over the issue. This is utterly deplorable and ridiculous,” he said.

Leader of Ppposition Narasingh Mishra, of the Congress, said the potato scheme of the state government has met the same fate like other programmes, all of which have failed.

Meanwhile, the ministers and BJD leaders clashed with each other over the potato crisis.

Cooperation Minister Damodar Rout said that the callousness of the bureaucrats had resulted in the rise in the price of potato, but party spokesman Pratap Jena 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. The ministers should personally take responsibility and find a way to bring down the price of potato,” he said.

On Thursday, Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Minister Sanjay Dasburma and Agriculture Minister Pradeep Maharathy were at loggerheads over potato production in the state.

While Dasburma said that potato production has gone down by 30 percent in the state, Maharathy claimed that it has actually gone up.

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