Bengal has sufficient stock of salt: Minister
Kolkata: Assuring that there was no shortage of salt in West Bengal, state Food and Supply Minister Jyotipriyo Mallick on Saturday said that its stocks would last for about a year.
"There is no cause for panic. There is sufficient stock of salt. We can meet the need for about one year with our existing stock of salt in the state," Mallick told reporters after meeting officials in the department.
Mallick said Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee rang him up to give guidelines on tackling the situation which stemmed from rumours "spread by a section of people with the help of some political parties".
Stating that his department would submit a report on the situation to the Chief Minister on Tuesday, Mallick said that the state government would initiate a strong action against those responsible for the situation. Strong measures have already been taken by the Food and Supplies Department, with food inspectors carrying out raids against the hoarding of salt.
A similar drive has also been launched by the Enforcement Branch. "Sources of rumours are also being ascertained. Strong measures will be taken against those spreading such rumours to create panic statewide," the minister said.
Panic buying of salt after rumours that it would disappear from markets led to the price hitting Rs 100 per kg in Darjeeling and equally high rates in other places statewide.
North Bengal Salt Importers Association president J K Saraf said at Raiganj in north Bengal that there was sufficient stock and that there was no panic buying during the day.
In South Dinajpur, traders` association and the police have asked people not to buy salt in excess quantities. In Darjeeling, SDO Kaushik Nag visited markets and shops as welfare officer of the Consumer Department of GTA was making inspections.
Traders told him that supply of salt from Bihar had stopped. Twelve persons have been detained since yesterday for salt hoarding in the district.
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