Cold storage owners threaten shutdown, demand rent hike

The joint committee of potato cold storage association has threatened to shut down their units if the state government fails to increase the rent by at least 50 per cent in the wake of hike in electricity tariff.

The joint committee comprising West Bengal Cold Storage Units and West Bengal Cold Chain and Cold Storage Owners Association has decided to cease work for a day on Monday to protest against the "steep hike in price of electricity charges and the government's failure to address the issue".

The members of the panel claimed that they had written a letter to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in April 2012 describing their situation, but she failed to hear their pleas.

Ramapada Pal, president of the joint committee, said it is unfortunate that the rent for cold storage has not been revised by the state governmenthis year after repeated representation to the government. The situation is going to aggravate further as the electricity tariff is yet to be declared for 2011-12 and 2012-13, he added.

According to the cold storage owners, the minimum rent in all other potato producing states like Punjab, UP, Haryana, Bihar, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh is between Rs 150-200 per quintal, while the rent in West Bengal remains at Rs 101- 109 per quintal.

In Bengal, there are 425 potato cold storage units, of which 10 units in Midnapore, Bankura, Hooghly and Burdwan have been shut due to increase in operational cost.

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