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KOLKATA : Prices of potato that had skyrocketted in the past few months and is now near 50 per kg is set to cool below 40 per kg in West Bengal over the next few days, an official of a cold storage association in the state said Wednesday.

The wholesale rates of different varieties at the cold storage gate has dipped by 5 per kg in the last three days and is likely to come down further to around 28. This will help retailing of the vegetable staple in the local markets below 40 a kg, the official of West Bengal Cold Storage Association told PTI.

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Even this is much higher than the early December prices in the previous years as it would then hover around 15 per kg in the state with markets awaiting new crops.

Produce from Punjab has started arriving but the quantity is little. The state's own produce will be ready for harvesting by the month end, he said.

A notice by West Bengal government dated November 27 had asked the 465 odd cold storage owners to clear the stocks by November 30 or steps would be taken against them.

The present operating protocol requires cold storages to clear their stock by November 30. But the state government had in the past extended the timelines on different counts. Cold storages prepare for storing the fresh crop after the scheduled maintenance.

There is some panic among the cold storage owners after the notice and the release of crops is much higher. In the last three days the prices of potato has eased by 5 per kg at the cold storage gate and will dip further, the official said.

By December 7 about 50 per cent of the cold storages will be able to empty their stocks, while for the rest it will spill over to mid December, he said.

Currently about 6-8 lakh tonne (10 per cent) of potato is still lying with the cold storages and it would take some more time for them to clear the stock in coordination with the potato packet owners, the official said.

If the government turns strict and the potatoes are brought out of the cold storages in a single go then it will rot," he said and urged the government to be rational.

The government's reaction was not available.

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