Telangana ban on UP potatoes likely to affect AIMIM in elections

Hyderabad: As Telangana bans the import of potatoes from Uttar Pradesh, it is bound to impact the elections hopes of the Hyderabad-based political party, the All India Majlis-e- Ittihadul-Muslimeen and its President Asaduddin Owaisi.

Potato cultivators are upset with Owaisi as he has apparently backed the Telangana government’s ban on potato imports from the poll-bound state. The farmers sow the crop from mid-October to early November. The potatoes are harvested between February 20 to March 10, only a third of the produce is sold at the time of harvesting. The rest of the crop is put in cold storage, staggered sales are made till the month of November.

The crop produced which is less the 60 to 75 days old is not suitable to be kept in cold storage at a temperature between 2-4 degrees Celsius for 9-10 months.

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Expressing his concerns on the ban imposed by Telangana, Mohammad Alamgir, the secretary of Aloo Utpadak Kisan Samiti questioned, “How can he campaign here while backing a government that has blocked entry of our potatoes there?”

According to a report by the Times of India, Telangana agriculture minister Niranjan Reddy asked, “The potatoes now coming from UP are the produce of last year, kept in cold stores. Why should we consume this when freshly harvested potatoes grown in Telangana are arriving at the Rythu Bazar vegetable markets here?”

As part of the state government plans, Telangana currently aims to cultivate potatoes on approximately 3,500-4,000 acres, with a focus on the Zaheerabad area of the Sangareddy district. The southern state’s call for diversification in crop cultivation is a result of the centre’s denial of paddy procurement during the month of November last year. This shift has led to challenges for potato cultivators from Uttar Pradesh.

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