Q How do you see the present situation on urea crisis in the State?
The crisis is almost over. It reflects in the reports coming from various parts of the State. On January 1 the State received 12,000 tonne of urea. By mid- January the State would have about 2.5 lakh tonne urea. Hence, the shortage would be overcome.
Q. Don’t you think the steps the government took in the recent days should have been taken much earlier like visits of the Chief Minister and the Chief Secretary to Delhi ?
The government has been serious on the issue from October itself. A series of correspondence was done. Authorities in Delhi were told about the State’s requirement of urea. But the Centre appeared blissfully ignorant about the ground realities. It preferred import of wheat instead, hence the racks required could not be available for transportation of urea to the states. This led to crisis.
Q. Have farmers suffered any loss due to non-availability of urea in adequate quantity?
As cold was experienced a bit late sowing began late, hence the crisis did not affect the farmers much. Moreover, availability of adequate quantity of urea by mid-January would help them further.
Q. There were reports of black marketing of urea in several parts of the State. What measures have you undertaken to check black-marketing?
Black marketing of urea is not possible. For, urea distribution comes under Essential Commodities Act, hence the traders cannot charge a single rupee more than the printed price. If they do they would certainly go to jail. There was certainly a hue and cry over black marketing at certain places in the State. The Chief Minister has instructed collectors to supervise distribution of urea in their respective districts.
Q. What would you do to check recurrence of such a situation in the State?
Nothing is in our hands as far as availability of urea is concerned. The State procures urea from the Centre. It is the Centre’s duty to provide urea in adequate quantity to the states, that too in time.
Q. Farmers are also complaining about poor power supply and want of irrigation facilities?
We are providing power to farmers 7 to 8 hours per day. Irrigation facilities have improved. There are a number of irrigation schemes started by the State Government. In the next two to five years irrigation by canal would be about 50 per cent.