Bihar farmers grapple with fertilizer crisis, urea selling at premium


Farmers in Bihar are still faced with shortage of urea despite claims of the union government of adequate supply of fertilizers to the state, officials said.

Contrary to the claims of union minister of state for agriculture and farmers’ welfare, Kishore Chaudhary, state agriculture secretary N Sararwana Kumar recently said Bihar received 32 per cent less urea than allocated by the Centre for kharif season.

“Though the supply of urea has been streamlined last month, the state received about 7,00,105 metric tonnes (MT) of urea against the allocated quota of 10,30,000 MTs for the month of January. Supply of urea was almost 97% of the allocated quota in December last year. We hope Bihar would be able to get its due allotment in January also,” said the agriculture secretary.

Urea shortage has led to escalation of its price in the open market. “The urea crisis at the time of irrigation of wheat has allowed unauthorised traders to sell it on a premium. Urea packet of 50kg is being sold at 350-400, against the government price of 260,” said Pintu Kumar of Dhawan village in Rohtas.

The agriculture secretary, however, said all district agriculture officers (DAOs) have been asked to keep track of movement and distribution of urea to the farmers up to panchayat-levels due to shortage of its supply this month.

“As many as 6,200 fertilizer outlets were raided during this Kharif season across the state and 117 FIRs lodged against those creating the urea crisis,” said the secretary.

Kumar, however, conceded that the shortage of urea supply in the initial two months of Kharif season, October and November, had a cascading effect in the fertilizer’s availability in the state. “The state received about 60% of urea supply against its allotted quoted in October and November. Though the urea supply has increased last month, overall shortage of the fertilizer stands around 32% against the quota for the entire Kharif season,” said the agriculture secretary.

“Our administrative machinery has been performing at the optimum level to ensure that the farmers received the urea at the right time. The department has launched massive crackdown against hoarders of Urea. The crisis would prevail until the supply is streamlined from the Centre,” said Kumar Sarvjeet, Bihar’s agriculture minister.

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