West Bengal Cold Storage Association is the only active Association of Cold Storages in West Bengal. This year the 56th Annual General Meeting was held at The Lake Land Country Club, Howrah. Presently more than 90% of Cold Storages in the State are members of this Association and it is the largest and only recognized body of such units in the State.
This Annual General meeting was inaugurated by the Chief Guest – Sri. Tapan Dasgupta, Hon’ble MIC Department of Agricultural Marketing Govt. of WB & was attended by: Sri. Tarun Kanti Ghosh, President of West Bengal Cold Storage Association; Sri. Rajesh Kumar Bansal, Vice President of West Bengal Cold Storage Association; Sri Patit Paban De, Past President of WBCSA. The above mentioned guests took the lead to convey their concern for the industry.
On this occasion, Sri Tarun Kanti Ghosh, President of West Bengal Cold Storage Association highlighted, “The area under cultivation of potato is on the rise and the cold storage units will continue to play pivotal role in marketing the produce, but distorted information about estimated balance stock of potato in cold storages in the end of the season resulting in distress sale has been a matter of concern for potato season 2020. He requested the authorities to consider balanced cultivation of potato to maintain a check on production, consumption and preservation. He estimated production of more than 110 lakh ton potato in the current season; domestic consumption in West Bengal being 65 lakh ton the balance stock needed to be marketed outside the state. To ensure balanced market condition he requested the authorities to maintain release of the stored stock at an uniform rate of 12% in each month during the unloading period. He recommended collection and analysis of pan India comprehensive data on cultivation, harvesting, storage & marketing for formulation of necessary action plan and monitoring the stock situation on real time basis”.
Training under Govt. initiative was suggested for farmers to maintain proper grading, curing and assortment & packing in quality Leyno bags of weight 55 grams (minimum) for storable potato; standardization on the above was also suggested. Since extension of storage period beyond November has become common experience for almost every year it was requested by him that quantum of additional rent for extended storage period need to be included in the notification for periodical rent Revision. He also suggested for enhancement in quantity of locally developed seeds
and encouragement & support from Govt. for cultivation of export quality potato.
In view of periodical rise in input cost and cost of capital for cold storages, demand was placed for raising cold storage rent to Rs 180/-per quintal because cold storage rent in other potato producing states varies from Rs 220/- to Rs 250/- per quintal. Further, it was suggested that cold storage rent calculation should be based on 90% storage capacity instead of 100% storage capacity as utilization of 100% capacity is rarely experienced. He also requested intervention of the authorities for publishing the rates for Panchayat tax & Trade License fees for different areas.
It was suggested that discussions on review of Cold Storage Act 1966 should include:
i) Duties of hirers in respect of quality of storable potato.
ii) Simplification of process to be observed for disposal of potato stock left in store units after
the end of storage season.
ii) Extension of validity of cold storage license to five years.
He insisted that current storage capacity offered by the store units in West Bengal is sufficient for preservation of potato produced in the state and in view of reduction in demand for produce of West Bengal in states like Jharkhand & Bihar, available storage capacity of the state needs to be restricted to the current level for at least five years. He also laid special emphasis on industryfriendly business environment in the state and practice of simplified Rules & Regulations, Timebound actions, Fair & logical dealing of issues concerning conduct of business