The Opposition on Wednesday tried to put the government on the mat twice in Lok Sabha on the question of shortage of fertilizers, but the UPA held its own with Ram Vilas Paswan announcing that the government would re-start eight sick fertilizer plants in a bid to produce 80 lakh tonnes of additional fertilizer to meet the growing demand.
Paswan’s remarks that the NDA regime had closed down the units (after he quit the BJP-led combine) led to an uproar during a discussion on a call attention motion by Congress member Chinta Mohan and four others.
Challenging the allegations of shortage, the minister claimed that enough fertilizer was made available to the states, and that he was ready to quit if proved wrong. “Either I am lying or those making these allegations are... I am speaking on the basis of the receipts (of state governments on fertilisers supplied to them),” he said, advising the MPs to raise the issue of distribution with their respective state governments.
He added that the units at Haldia, Durgapur, Barauni, Sindri, Gorakhpur, Ramagundem and Talcher would be able to produce 10 lakh tonnes of fertilisers annually once they are reopened.