Artificial fertilizer shortage in Odisha due to poor management

Bhubaneswar, September 10: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has thanked the Center for the supply of urea and the state has sufficient stock. However, farmers are forced to purchase fertilizers at higher prices due to artificial scarcity in the state.

In Balangir, for example, urea is sold at around Rs 500 per 45 kg bag against the subsidized price of Rs 266.50 per bag.

The total seasonal requirement of urea in Balangir for the Kharif crop was 22,000 metric tons and the district received 30,000 metric tons.

Despite the excess stocks, farmers are paying more than Rs 200 per bag against the subsidized price.

This is not the situation faced only by farmers in Balangir. Farmers across the state are being forced to purchase urea at higher prices.

The state gets more than its monthly needs. The current shortage is made by the government because it turned a blind eye to the unscrupulous practices of registered agencies for the sale of fertiliser, a farmer alleged.

Once the fertilizers reach the districts, the State Co-operative Marketing Federation Ltd (Markfed-Odisha) provides 50 percent of the fertilizers to Cooperative Primary Agriculture Societies (PACS) and Large Area Multipurpose Societies (LAMPS) for farmers at a subsidized price. The remaining 50% are sold by private agencies.

Previously, PACS and LAMPS took fertilizer from Markfed by posting a letter of credit. They deposit the money in the banks after selling it to the farmers and the banks pay the money to the Markfed. However, Markfed has more than Rs 100 crore of unpaid dues on these cooperatives, following which it stopped supply without advance payment from this year.

Most PACS and LAMPS did not purchase urea in advance and private agencies took advantage of this to engage in black marketing.

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