Even as Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Friday rubbished reports of urea shortage in the state, the opposition launched a scathing attack on the government for “not making arrangements” for adequate supply of urea for the season.
Interacting with mediapersons at Muktsar, Badal said the state had received far more urea as compared to the corresponding period of last year.
Badal said there was no need to get panicky as there was hardly any scarcity of urea in the state. He said regular monitoring was being done by the state agriculture department to ensure that farmers did not face any difficulty.
Interestingly, on December 10, Badal had sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s personal intervention to step up the supplies of urea to Punjab to make up the shortfall of 1,47,843 MTs. “Punjab is experiencing acute shortage of urea in sowing their 2014-15 rabi crops. Punjab has received only 5,24,807 MTs of urea up to November 30, 2014 as against its demand and allocation of 6,72,650 MTs, leaving a shortfall of 1,47,843 MTs,” stated Badal’s letter to the PM.
Congress leader Rajinder Kaur Bhattal on Friday said the shortage of urea had been created by the urea dealers due to the laxity
of the Badal government. She said farmers across the state were being compelled to buy cattle feed costing Rs 500 to Rs 700 along with urea bags, besides additional pesticides.
Meanwhile, the agriculture department on Friday raided and recovered 1,350 sacks carrying 675 quintals of urea from a rice sheller at Mullanpur Dakha, 20 kilometres from Ludhiana, giving credence to the allegations that the shortage of urea has been “artificially” created by hoarders.
Agriculture minister Tota Singh, while denying shortage of urea, on Thursday had asked his teams to conduct raids at places where there was a possibility of hoarding. He had said that in the last three days, 70,000 tonnes of urea had arrived in the state. He said IFFCO had 50,000 tonne excess urea in the stock.
The Sangrur district unit of the youth Congress had held a protest on Thursday, demanding the government improve the supply of urea fertiliser to the farmers. On December 29, farmers in large numbers had gathered in Sangrur and blocked the highway to protest the non-availability of the urea.