Saturday, November 9, 2013

India's food 'insecurity'

As the whole country sheds tears over onions, people in Odisha have some more reasons which are bringing tears to their pockets. It is an unusual potato and salt crisis which has strangled Odisha.

The potato politics

After having suffered sky-rocketing onion prices, a deadly cyclone and floods, people in Odisha can now be seen lined up in long, serpentine queues in front of the Government run Udyan Presh and Maitree outlets in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack. These outlets are selling potatoes at Rs22 a kg which are otherwise being sold at Rs 80 a kg, if at all it is available.

The ‘pinch’ of salt

Before the Government could manage the acute scarcity of potatoes, rumours spread in a large section of the state that salt too is likely to go scarce for the next few months. The rumours resulted in unscrupulous traders encashing the situation. The prices of salt thus increased from Rs 25 to Rs 60 a kg.

Miles to go…

The situation looks even more appalling when you look at the Government’s inability to curb the crisis. Lack of control over rumour mongers and Government’s mismanagement has given rise to this situation but more than this it is the administration’s indifference.

It’s not the time to pay blame games. While the consumers are pointing fingers at the administration, the government is accusing the consumers of undue panic causing the crisis

Whoever is responsible for the crisis what is important is to realise that essentials like potatoes, onions and salt are politically sensitive commodities and have led to major political fallouts in the past.


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