New connection in making — Mamata’s rice, Jaya’s idli
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They are the two regional satraps and in the present political scenario when there is a talk of realignment of political forces, West Bengal Chief Minister and her Tamil Nadu counterpart, J Jayalalithaa, have a new thing to bond to — idlis. Yes, the simple and favourite breakfast item of Tamil Nadu has got a new ingredient — rice grown in West Bengal.
Recently, the southern state ordered the purchase of 1,900 tonnes of rice from West Bengal after Chief Minister Tamil Nadu tasted the idlis made of rice from Bengal. "Jayalalithaa was pleased with the idlis made from Bengal rice and cleared the purchase of 1,000 tonnes of rice. We sold it at the rate of Rs 28 a kg. Now, we have received another order for 900 tonnes from Tamil Nadu, and we are supplying it soon,'' said PS Katiresan, Director General (Food), West Bengal government, told The Indian Express.
Both the states, interestingly, are rice-producing states with Bengal being the largest producer of the foodgrain with an average annual production of 150 lakh tonnes. Usually, the state governments are not involved in rice trade. But this is for the first time that the West Bengal government sold rice directly to another state government.
"The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister was all praise for our rice as she liked the items made from it. I will have a surplus of 5 lakh tonnes this year and we are planning to sell that to Tamil Nadu," an enthusiastic Minister for Food and Supplies Jyotipriya Mullick told The Indian Express.
Following the Tamil Nadu government's keenness to buy rice from West Bengal and the subsequent talks between the officials of the two governments, a delegation from Tamil Nadu led by its Food Commissioner G Nirmala visited Kolkata on September 12 and examined the samples of rice of two varieties — Swarna and IR 36. The delegation tasted the idli and dosa prepared from two rice varieties. Satisfied, they took the rice samples to Chennai and rest we all know.
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