Kolkata: Ruling out convening all-party meeting to check spiralling prices of essential commodities as demanded by the Left, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday said her government was mulling suitable legislation to control it besides launching anti-hoarding operations.

"Why should we convene an all-party meeting? They were in power in the state for 34 years and could not do anything. The price of potato had shot upto Rs 24 and that of brinjal upto Rs 80 during their rule in 2008.

"What suggestion will they give? Apart from hand of the middlemen, there is also a political game plan behind the price rise," Banerjee said hinting at the hand of the Left behind the problem.

"They (LF government) had gone for huge borrowing and we have to face the problem," she said after a high-level meeting at the state secretariat.

Left Front chairman Biman Bose last week had demanded that the state government should convene an all-party meeting within seven days to find a mechanism to check the price rice.

Banerjee said that her government was going to make suitable legislation "since the existing Anti-profiteering Act, 1958, is non-functioning."

The chief minister said that the government formed an 11-member committee, headed by Agriculture secretary Subrata Biswas to control prices of essential commodities, especially vegetables.

Stating that the middlemen were responsible for the price rise, she said that the state government would not allow them to create artificial shortage of essential commodities and the police and enforcement branch would launch immediate operations against them.

Referring to steep hike in the price of chillies, she said the food processing industry which consumed 140 m.t chillies has been asked to halt operations for a fortnight to tide over the shortage in the market.

The 11-member committee formed was asked to raid cold storages with enforcement branch officers from time to time, and directed to meet again on July 17. The CM made surprise visits to Lansdowne market, Sealdah market and Kolay market on Saturday to see for herself the situation in retail markets.


Latest News from West Bengal News Desk