Bengal Cold Storage Association wants to increase potato storage costs.

The West Bengal Cold Storage Association on Monday demanded that the state government immediately raise rents for potato storage facilities, saying cold storage operators are suffering huge losses as the government has not revised rents in the last two years. According to the officials of the cooperative, an expert committee appointed by the government recommended an increase in rents at the beginning of 2023, taking into account various input costs, repair costs of machines and labor costs of cold storage facilities. However, the government has not yet taken a decision on this matter, which has forced cold storage into a “sick industry”.

“The expert committee has recommended ₹ 190 per quintal for South Bengal and ₹ 194 per quintal for North Bengal. However, the government has not taken a decision on revising the current prices. We are very hurt. We demand that the government immediately revise the prices as per the recommendations, Patit Paban, a senior official of West Bengal Cold Storage Association, told De Business Line. Cold storage is currently operating at a rental rate of ₹ 168-172 per quintal. The government has not revised the rent of cold storage after 2021.

“Our members report that they cannot use warehouses at these prices. Many operators have already given up their licenses. Over the past two years, cold storage has closed about 50 operators. There were many distressed sales. Banks have classified many units as NPAs. We are very concerned. “If the government does not inform us about the rent payment before February 20, we should call a general meeting to take a final decision.  In West Bengal, cold storage operators derive a large part of their income from the rental of potato warehouses. Currently, the state has 460 cold storage facilities for storing potatoes with a total capacity of about 73,000 tons.

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