Kolkata, Nov 16 (IANS) Cold storage owners in West Bengal facing a steep rise in operational costs will shut operations for a day Nov 19, demanding higher rentals.
The owners have been demanding higher rentals, stagnant for three years now, to offset the higher costs of power, diesel and labour. But the state government is declining to increase the rentals on the back of soaring vegetable prices.
Bengal currently has about 425 cold storages, which load potatoes.
"The rental for storing potatoes in cold storages in the state has been stagnant for the past three years. But during the time, the operational costs have swelled by 46 percent to 60 percent. We have been demanding a hike in the rentals. But the government is refusing it," West Bengal Cold Storage Association member Patit Paban De told IANS Friday.
"As a mark of the protest, we will stop operations for one day on Nov 19. On that day, there will be on potato delivery," De said.
The government controls the rent of the cold storages. Rent for storing potatoes currently stands at Rs.101 per quintal.
The cold storage owners are demanding a rental of Rs.150 per quintal.
According to De, around 10 cash−strapped cold storages closed down this year due to financial crisis.
"If the government does not allow us to increase rental, more cold storages will have to down shutters," he said.