Scotching rumours on inadequate salt in the State, the West Bengal government on Saturday assured people that there was no shortage of salt and supplies were sufficient to meet a year’s requirement.
After meeting his department officials, Food and Supplies Minister Jyoti Priyo Mallick said there was no cause for panic. He blamed the Congress, the CPI(M), and the BJP for the perceived shortage. “It is a totally fake affair,” he stressed.
Mr. Mallick said he held meetings with salt merchants and he was assured that fresh supplies were arriving.
Fears of scarcity of the essential item seemed to have gripped people in the State’s upper reaches more, with people in North and South Dinajpur, Cooch Behar and Jalpaiguri queuing up to buy the commodity even at exorbitant prices, fearing stoppage of supplies from a neighbouring State.
The State government has set up a control room to receive complaints of any shortage of salt in the city markets. The Home Department has asked the Intelligence Bureau to submit a report on the rumour-mongering and the perceived shortage. Raids are being carried out by the administration in areas where the rumours were strongest, a government official said, adding that some people have been detained in this regard.
Mr. Mallick said that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had expressed concern on the matter and asked him to tackle it. A bowl of rice, mashed boiled potato and salt is the staple of a commoner’s diet in these parts and the rising potato prices have already caused considerable harassment with some poor people stopping consumption of potatoes altogether.