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Crops at risk as gas shortage hits fertiliser output

business Updated: May 24, 2011 01:58 IST
Anupama Airy
Anupama Airy
Hindustan Times

The ongoing shortages of natural gas, mainly resulting from the sudden fall in production at India’s largest field (KG-D6) managed by Reliance Industries, is taking its toll on fertiliser production, and is now threatening the kharif crop.

Kharif or summer-sown crops like paddy account for nearly half of India’s annual food output.

The committee of secretaries under cabinet secretary KM Chandrasekhar met on May 6 to review the situation. It has sought an urgent meeting of the EGoM on gas allocation to arrest the decline of gas supplies to the fertiliser sector.

“There is an immediate need to hold a meeting of the EGoM,” said a senior official of the DoF. “Even the cabinet secretary observed in the May 6 meeting that to meet the requirements of the kharif season during the next two months, requisite allocation of gas needs to be made."

The EGoM is likely to meet some time this week.

Sources said the CoS has already directed the department of fertilisers to maximise the imports of phosphatic fertilisers and deliver them to the farmers to meet kharif needs.

However, the Department of Agriculture & Cooperation (DAC) has informed the CoS that the shortfall in DAP (diammonium phosphates) will be automatically substituted by complex fertilisers as their chemical compositions are different, and local production and supply of fertilisers — essentially urea — which is hit by gas shortage, needs to be restored.

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