While the shortage of urea has created panic among farmers across Punjab on the one hand, private dealers in the district are taking advantage of the situation by selling urea bags on high prices on the other.
With the wheat crop now requiring the second dose of urea after the recent rain, its acute shortage has left several farmers high and dry in the district.
Officials in the agriculture department said they had received only 24,000 metric tonne urea in December, while the demand for the same is more than 29,000 metric tonnes in the district. “Around 43,500 metric tonnes of urea is used in the district from October till February-end,” an official said.
Hardeep Singh, a farmer who has cultivated wheat on 125 acres, said he went to buy around 300 bags of urea from a cooperative society on Friday but got 10 bags after standing in a long queue. “I had to buy 50 bags of urea from a private dealer who put a condition that I needed to purchase 1kg sulphur pack with each bag,” he said.
He said the dealer gave him urea at the controlled rate of Rs 270 per bag but duped him of Rs 100 by forcing him to buy sulphur packs even he did not need it. Therefore, one urea bag cost him around Rs 620.
Sources said there is not an acute shortage of urea but private dealers are making it a semblance of shortage to earn profits by selling it on black with urea becoming a necessity for every farmer to use in his crop.
Dr Manohar Singh, chief agriculture officer, Kapurthala, said there is some shortage of urea in the district due to which farmers are facing harassment.
“On Monday, we will probably receive 52,000 urea bags from Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilisers Limited for the district, after which farmers can avail urea easily,” he said.
Agriculture department officers in Kapurthala are also conducting raids in private shops and godowns to ensure that no dealer stocks urea bags to sell on the black market.
Agriculture development officer Paramjit Singh said they had conducted raids in a dozen of shops and godowns of private dealers in Phagwara.