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Calcutta High Court rejects plea on potato collection

The state informed the court that the government had announced that cold storage owners would get a loan for buying potato from farmers

By Our Legal Reporter in Calcutta

  • Published 13.03.19, 1:20 AM
  • Updated 13.03.19, 1:20 AM
Calcutta High Court
Calcutta High Court The Telegraph picture

Calcutta High Court on Tuesday declined to entertain a petition that challenged a notification issued by the Bengal agricultural marketing department directing cold storage owners to procure potato (at least 20 per cent of the capacity of the storage) directly from farmers at Rs 550 per quintal.

One of the three owners of Africa Cold Storage Private Limited, a cold storage in Murshidabad’s Burwan, had moved the petition on March 8 before Justice Debangshu Basak. The order had been issued on February 27.

After hearing the case in detail, Justice Debangshu Basak said: “It seems the state government has taken the decision for the benefit of potato farmers. At the same time, the government has taken the decision in the interest of cold storage owners too. So, it is not necessary to interfere in the state’s decision.”

Moving the petition on behalf of the cold storage co-owner, senior advocate Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharyya told the court: “On February 27, my client received a notice from the state agricultural marketing department directing him to purchase Jyoti variety of potato of the size between 55mm and 100mm in diameter directly from farmers at the rate of Rs 550 per quintal.”

After hearing the plea, the judge had raised a question whether the state has the legal authority to force the cold storage owners to buy potato directly from farmers.

The judge had asked the state additional advocate general, Abhrotosh Majumdar: “Which law empowers the state government to issue such a notice? How can the government dictate cold storage owners to buy potato from farmers.”

Majumdar had prayed for time for giving reply to the judge’s queries.

On Tuesday, when the matter came up for hearing again, Majumdar informed the court that the government, in the same order, had announced that the cold storage owners would get loan for purchasing potato from the farmers.

“The government had also announced a package of compensation for the cold storage owners if they suffer loss due to the government’s directive,” Majumdar told the court.

After hearing Majumdar, the judge decided not to interfere in the government’s decision.