While farmers in Punjab agreed to end their rail blockade on Saturday, the almost two-month protest triggered acute urea shortage in the state, which is now expected to be mitigated. Interestingly, Punjab faced a urea crunch despite two National Fertilisers Limited (NFL) plants in the state — Nangal and Bathinda — that make urea as their major product.
But the high demand for the product is the reason that both units fell short of the state’s needs.
Both the units have a capacity of producing around 3,000 to 3,200 tonnes urea per day and the annual production of urea at both the units is between 11 to 11.50 lakh tonnes. Punjab, however, needs around 27 lakh tonnes urea annually including around 13.50 lakh tonnes for the Rabi crops.
Baldev Singh, Joint Director (Fertilisers), Punjab Agriculture Department, said that these units cannot meet the demand of the state. He added that as on date, 70,000 tonnes is available with these units ready to be supplied to potato growers, who have sown potato in October and now needs urea, and then to those farmers first who had sown their wheat in October-end as it is required to be applied in Rabi crop fields when they are around a month old.
The urea from these units can be supplied through trucks to Punjab’s various districts when the trains are not running mainly in Doaba region which is the Seed Potato Belt of the country and where over one lakh hectare area is under potato crop, said the officials in the Horticulture Department.
Meanwhile, farmers in some districts have also alleged that fertiliser dealers have been forcing them to purchase other fertilisers along with urea.
Sukhjit Singh Diwala, a farmer from Diwala village in Ludhiana, said that his fertiliser dealer also put the same condition when his son went to purchase urea.
The Joint Director said that they have already issued a letter in which they have advised farmers to complain against those who are trying to fleece them on the name of urea.
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