Owners of all 425 potato cold storage units went on a one-day strike on Monday demanding hike in storage charges, the West Bengal Cold Storage Association said here.
“Electricity tariff and operational costs have gone up by 50 per cent in the past two years while rental charges have not revised since February 2010,” said Patit Paban De, a spokesman of the Association.
The owners of the cold storages are demanding that the rental be raised from between Rs 101 and Rs 109 to Rs 150 per quintal.
“The cold storage units have a total capacity of storing 60 lakh tons of potatoes per season,” according to Mr. De.
“The cost of labour and fuel has also gone up in the past two years. Unable to bear the expenses, around 10 cold storage units have already closed down and a few more will not be in a position to be functional by the end of next month,” he said.
The Association also claimed that potato storage charges in West Bengal are lower than in other States.
“In Gujarat, the charge for cold storage is Rs. 150 per quintal while in Bihar it is Rs. 180 per quintal,” Mr De said.
“We met Agriculture & Marketing Minister Arup Roy on November 14 and handed him a memorandum citing our demands. We are yet to receive any response from the Government,” he said.
The strike, however did not affect the price of potatoes in the markets, said Rabindranath Koley, general secretary of the West Bengal Forum of Traders’ Organisations.