Farmers buy urea at higher rates from Haryana - ECAS Punjab

Farmers buy urea at higher rates from Haryana

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Ruchika M Khanna

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 22

Farmers in Punjab are facing an acute shortage of urea, which is forcing them to buy it at abnormally higher rates from Haryana.

With the National Fertilizers Limited (NFL) plant at Bathinda stopping the supply to farmers, the latter are accusing both the Central and state governments of an attempt at "hitting them financially".

As the protest by farmers against the three agriculture laws enters the next phase of 'Delhi Chalo', farmers are blaming the Union Government for withholding the urea-filled rakes and the state government of being unable to get urea from outside by road. The first application of urea is made in the third week of November to ensure high yield.

Yudhjit Singh, a farmer of Tarkhanwala village in Bathinda, says many in his village are running from pillar to post to get urea for wheat. For his 8.5 acres of land, he has bought urea from Dabwali in Haryana. "Farmers were earlier getting a rationed supply of urea from the NFL plant at Bathinda but for past two days, it has stopped the supply. The least the state can do is to ensure that all urea produced by the plant is supplied to farmers within the state," he says.

The Tribune has learnt that presently, Punjab is facing a shortage of six lakh tonnes of urea. Though there are two plants of the NFL in the state (Bathinda and Ropar), they have already supplied the 60,000 metric tonnes of urea to Punjab as mandated in the agreements signed with the state government. "The remaining requirement of urea is to be met from outside the state. As of now, 3.90 lakh metric tonnes of urea is held up in transit," a top official in the Markfed said. He said the opening stock of 50,000 tonnes of urea that the state had has already been distributed to cooperative societies.

Ever since the train services were suspended in Punjab 60 days ago, the state has not received its supply of urea. With farmers who had sown cotton in their fields ready to sow wheat now, they are now urgently in need of urea, which is not available, leading to panic in the cotton belt of the Malwa region. The urea meant for Punjab is stuck at the NFL plants in Panipat (Haryana) and Aonla (Uttar Pradesh).

Kulwant Singh, a farmer from Kishangarh village in Mansa, says the farmers have been pushed to the wall and have no choice but to buy urea from Haryana. "In Ratia, the dealers are selling urea at Rs 300 per bag against the price of Rs 265 per bag. Other than this, farmers of Punjab are also forced to buy chemical fertilisers from dealers if they buy urea. We have no option and our input cost for urea has doubled," he adds.

Punjab's Agriculture Commissioner BS Sidhu said, "The urea should reach the state in three to four days once train services are resumed on Tuesday."

from The Tribune

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