West Bengal Essential Commodities Supply Corporation (WBECSC), under the state food and supplies department, Thursday launched its own retail chain of commodities, to promote exclusive products of the state in agriculture and food sector, with a distribution outlet called ‘Roudra Brishti’.
State food minister Jyotipriyo Mullick inaugurated its first store on Free School Street. He said that while consumers will get branded commodities at discounted prices, producers of agricultural products will also get a fair price. “This is only the beginning. We have plans to open such outlets in every district, sub-division and municipal headquarters. ECSC might make very little or no profit,” he said.
A state-of-art laboratory, with German equipment, on the fourth floor of the Food Corporation of India (FCI) building was also inaugurated. Set up at a cost of Rs 2.6 crore, it will be used to check food quality. “Previously we had to send food samples to Hyderabad for testing and it took two months for the results to arrive. Now it can be done here itself within two hours,” said Mullick. He added that the state will open two more laboratories at Siliguri and Burdwan to cater to north Bengal and Junglemahal area. The state is also mulling the idea of creation of 16 mini laboratories in districts.
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Agriculture minister Malay Ghatak, who was also present at the function, said, “The motto of the TMC is food for all. All this has been made possible by the chief minister, in spite of the financial crisis that the Centre has put us through. If Mamata Banerjee is made the prime minister, our state will definitely benefit.”