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Punjab never raised demand of setting up another fertiliser unit: Agriculture minister

Though the minister said strict action will be taken against black marketers and asked the agriculture department to stay alert, it took farmers three days to get an FIR lodged against pesticide dealers of Jalalabad, while no arrests have taken place till now.

Written by Raakhi Jagga | Ludhiana |
November 13, 2021 10:08:20 am
Punjab fertilisersThe solo unit, National Fertilizers Limited (NFL) has its parent unit in Nangal and its sub-unit in Bathinda. (Representational)

THE ONLY fertilizer manufacturing unit was set up in Punjab way back in the 70s, and despite being an agrarian state, it never raised any demand before the central government for another unit, said state Agriculture Minister Randeep Singh Nabha while speaking on the issue of shortage of Di-Ammonium Phosphate (DAP) and other fertilisers in the state ahead of wheat sowing season.

The solo unit, National Fertilizers Limited (NFL) has its parent unit in Nangal and its sub-unit in Bathinda. “The agriculture department always used to be with the CMs of the state and hence it never got the deserved attention. No doubt we are serious about setting up another fertilizer manufacturing unit in the state but the department lies in the centre with lots of formalities. We are sure to set up another unit in our next term if people give us another chance,” said Nabha.

Though the minister said strict action will be taken against black marketers and asked the agriculture department to stay alert, it took farmers three days to get an FIR lodged against pesticide dealers of Jalalabad, while no arrests have taken place till now. The FIR was lodged against M/S Chugh trading company while co-accused are Ajay Kumar, Rajinder Kumar and Raj Kumar. The case was lodged late Tuesday, which according to farmers was three days after they complained of shortage of fertilizers in the area and also complained of hoarding. Around 8,300 bags (each bag of 50 kg) have been seized from different illegal godowns of the above-mentioned dealers, out of which nearly 1,800 were of DAP and the rest of urea. FIR was lodged under black marketing and maintenance of supplies of the Essential Commodities Act, 1980. However, no arrests have been made so far.

Chief Agriculture Officer Fazilka, Hardev Singh, said: “The company had got only one godown registered and the remaining places were illegal, hence, we call it hoarding only. An FIR has been lodged for further investigation.”

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Vikasdeep Chaudhary, president of Nagar Council, Jalalabad, said, “Farmers must get DAP and other fertilizers for wheat sowing as its peak season has started. Hence hoarding at such a time is unjustified. This was the reason that I sat with farmers on dharna. Only the police can tell why they are not arresting the culprits. The main dealer was also selling DAP at higher prices as per the farmers.”

Gurbhej Singh Rohiwala, president BKU Ugrahan, Fazilka district, said, “We sat in the police station of Jalalabad for the whole night and Friday morning they gave us information about the FIR which they have lodged. We had told the agriculture department about black marketing being done by the Chugh trading company and later illegal stock was found. Thankfully, that department woke up within 2-3 days. Now an FIR has been lodged and we want strict action against the culprits.”

Gurbaj Singh, block president, BKU Sidhupur, Fazilka, said, “On Friday we lifted the dharna from outside Jalalabad city police station. Police have sought some time for arrests. If no action is taken, we will start dharna yet again.”

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Meanwhile, the agriculture minister said that the Union government will be giving 60 rakes of DAP extra between November 15 and 30 in Punjab, when wheat sowing will be at its peak.

He said that Punjab had requested to speed up the supply of DAP and informed that the state has total due allocation of 5.50 Lakh Metric Tonne (LMT) DAP for Rabi season 2021-22, but the state received only 1.51 LMT of DAP till now.

The minister said: “The state had demanded 2.75 LMT of DAP in October, out of which only 1.97 LMT was allocated by the Government of India, for October but we received 1.51 LMT.”

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Thereby, it had created an imbalance and shortage of 1.24 LMT of DAP in October only. He added that the state had already demanded 2.50 LMT DAP for November: “If we add the deficiency of October, the demand for November scaled up to 3.74 LMT.”

He specifically mentioned that against this requirement of 3.74 LMT in November, only 0.68 LMT has been received till November 11.

The minister said that around 85 per cent sowing of wheat in the state would be completed by November 25, and now sowing is at its peak. He stated that he had already instructed agriculture officials to keep a strict vigil on black marketing, hoarding of DAP and unnecessary tagging of other products. He also warned that strict action will be taken against the defaulting dealers.

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First published on: 13-11-2021 at 10:08:20 am

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