How Strings Were Pulled to Lift The Jute Price Cap, with Bengal BJP Trying to Sew Up Its Fraying Unity

This time jute has become the latest policy catalyst in West Bengal. On Thursday evening, the central government reached a notice to withdraw the fiber price cap, a decision with significant political implications.

BJP sources said the measure was taken to retain West Bengal MP Arjun Singh in the party, after meeting with JP Nada this week, MP Lok Sabha told reporters that the next 15 days will determine whether he stays. In BJP or not.

The maximum price of Rs 6,500 per quintal on raw jute imposed by the center in September was seen as pushing Arjun Singh towards his former Trinamool Congress.

The MP had opposed the move in Parliament itself. Singh represents Barakpur, which is part of the “jute belt” of Bengal. He believed that the price ceiling would affect mill workers and micro, small and medium enterprises. Experts said the move would affect Singh’s voting bank as well.

The BJP MP wrote a letter to Textile Minister Piyush Goyal, saying that if nothing was done within seven days, he would start a violent protest.

As seven days passed, Arjun Singh was summoned by the union minister who gave the patient a listen to his demands.

Goyal directed him to meet the textile secretary, giving him assurance that the problem would be resolved.

After that, Singh said he was happy to take the initiatives but wouldn’t be satisfied with a ‘lollipop’. Not just words, he wanted to see some action.

Singh also wrote a letter to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee asking for her intervention. He also communicated this to the other members of the Board of Directors. Amid all this, the BJP MP has bypassed the Sankalp Yatra party which has heightened the uproar for his possible return to the TMC.

Following Singh’s request, a trilateral meeting was held on 9 May. The Jute Ministry and other stakeholders attended there. The meeting was also attended by the Bangladeshi Minister of Labor. He opposed the idea of ​​setting a maximum price for products such as jute. The Bengal Corporation has also demanded a 100 per cent reservation on the packaging of food grains in jute sacks.

Jute row has had its greatest impact in Bengal. About 12 mills were closed and more than 60,000 workers were out of work. This status was transferred to the Central Ministry.

The moment raw jute prices were capped, an artificial demand arose in the market, experts say. No one was willing to sell jute at this price.

The TMC Guild also took up the issue and got moral support from Arjun Singh, who was constantly making fierce comments on the matter.

The Jute Mills Association of India also asked the Jute Commissioner to raise the price to Rs 7,200, which was refused. The International Jute Federation went to court, which also asked the Jute Commissioner how this request could be met.

Arjun Singh was also constantly putting pressure on the leadership of his party. He was summoned for the second time by Textile Minister Piyush Goyal and it was assured that his demand would be met.

Not only this; Party chairman JP Nada also invited the MP. Sources say that Arjun Singh hinted there that if the price cap does not go, he can return to TMC.

Within two days of this meeting, the maximum price was withdrawn.

Arjun Singh called Pyush Goyal and thanked him, while also tweeting about the matter.

Another BJP Bengal MP, Lokit Chatterjee, also took to the social media site to thank the Ministry of Textiles.

The TMC also does not want to be left behind in claiming credit for development. Ritaprata Banerjee, the official in charge of Trinamool’s Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTTUC) also tweeted.

Arjun Singh switched to the BJP from TMC ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. He defeated Dinesh Trivedi of Trinamool to become Barakpur’s deputy.

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