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Removal of Pulses, Onion, Potato from List of Essentials Will Lead to Food Crisis, Says TMC

A labourer carries a sack filled with pulses at a wholesale pulses market in Kolkata. (File photo/Reuters)

A labourer carries a sack filled with pulses at a wholesale pulses market in Kolkata. (File photo/Reuters)

The Rajya Sabha on Tuesday passed the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill to remove cereals, pulses, oilseeds, edible oils, onion and potato from the list of essential commodities.

The Trinamool Congress on Tuesday slammed the BJP-led central government's decision to remove cereals, pulses, oilseeds, edible oils, onion and potato from the list of essential commodities, claiming that the "anti-people and disastrous" move would lead to food crisis. The BJP West Bengal unit, however, said that it was done to help farmers get a better price.

The Rajya Sabha on Tuesday passed the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill to remove cereals, pulses, oilseeds, edible oils, onion and potato from the list of essential commodities. The bill, which was approved by the Lok Sabha on September 15, replaces an ordinance promulgated in June. "The decision to remove pulses, oilseeds, edible oils, onion and potato from the list of essential commodities is anti-people and disastrous. It will only help the big corporates and the BJP to loot the resources of the country,"senior TMC leader and MP Sougata Ray claimed.

The BJP-led government is doing everything possible to wipe out the middle class and the poor section of the country, he alleged. "The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill and the farm sector reform bills will not serve the interests of farmers. It would lead to food crisis in the country, while farmers will not get the MSP (minimum support price) for their produce," Ray said.

Echoing his views, senior Congress leader Pradip Bhattacharya, a Rajya Sabha MP, said that this amendment to the Essential Commodities Act would lead to a major agrarian crisis in the country. West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh, dubbed the claims as baseless.

"If the TMC is so concerned about price rise, it should first answer why the prices of potato are beyond the reach of the common man in West Bengal? These farm sector reforms bill will help farmers get a better price for the irproduce. People would also get the benefit," Ghosh said. Two key farm bills, dubbed by the government as the biggest reform in agriculture, were on Sunday passed by Rajya Sabha by voice vote amid chaotic scenes by opposition members who demanded that they be referred to a House panel for greater scrutiny.


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