At a time when farmers of the state are resorting to protests by blocking rail and road traffic over reported shortage of urea fertiliser, agriculture minister OP Dhankar has termed the crisis a creation of politically vested interests with an intention to put the state government on the mat.
Hindustan Times staff reporter Sat Singh spoke the agriculture minister on the government's preparedness in dealing with the crisis. Excerpts:
Your government promised good days to everyone but farmers are protesting for want of urea fertiliser when the BJP is at the helm at the Centre and in Haryana as well.
There is no shortage of urea fertiliser for farmers. As of now, Haryana is getting its share of urea from the Centre and farmers are getting it for their use.
Where is the problem then?
The problem lies in the farmer's desperation for urea, which he requires for immediate use and also wants to stock it for next month. They are doing it because an environment is being created that urea is in short supply and they should better stock it for future use.
Who is creating artificial scarcity of urea?
There are people with political inclination who have not been able to come to terms with their defeat in the assembly elections and are now spreading false rumours, but the government is vigilant and won't let them upset the system.
What is ground position of urea availability?
On daily basis, we are distributing 3.5 lakh sacks among farmers, which is sufficient to meet their needs and better than what previous governments used to do during this time of year. As its share, Haryana has received 10.5 lakh tonne urea from the Centre, but seeing the demand we have got another 1 lakh tonne sanctioned from the Union chemical and fertilisers ministry. Till now, the state has been allotted 50,000 tonne fertiliser and another half of the new demand has been kept in reserve.
Farmers allege black marketeering of urea. What steps would you take to check this?
To stop black marketeering, the agriculture department has decided that the fertiliser distribution will be held at police stations. A strict action will be taken against anyone found having stocked additional urea, be it a trader or a farmer.
Any message you want to give to farmers.
I appeal to farmers to have trust in the saffron government and collect urea as per their immediate requirement as more urea would be given to them later. I met union minister of chemicals and fertilisers Anant Kumar in New Delhi on Wednesday and sought uninterrupted supply of urea for the state.