States alerted against smuggling of fertilizers

August 6th, 2010 - 7:47 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 6 (IANS) The government has asked the states to ensure that fertilisers made available to the farmers in the country at highly subsidised prices are not smuggled out through land or sea routes to neighbouring countries.
This information was given in the Rajya Sabha by Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilizers, Srikant Jena, in a written reply to a question on smuggling of subsidised fertilizers by unscrupulous elements.

“State governments have been advised by the department of fertilizers to keep a vigil and to check smuggling of fertilisers from India to other neighbouring countries through land and sea routes,” said Jena.

He added that the home ministry too had alerted the Border Security Force (BSF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Assam Rifles, Sashstra Seema Bal and Coast Guard to maintain strict vigilance on the borders to curb smuggling of fertilizers.

The home ministry has also written to the chief secretaries of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal to sensitise the authorities concerned to curb the smuggling of fertilizers.

Various statutory provisions ban the sale of fertlizer by any body at a rate above the maximum retail prices printed over the bags of fertlizers, said Jena, adding that “the state governments are adequately empowered under such legal provisions.”

In reply to another question, Jena said the fertilizer subsidy bill in the first quarter of the current fiscal stood at nearly Rs 8,900 crore.

“Fertilizers are provided to the farmers in the states at subsidised rates,” he said, adding the total expenditure incurred on fertilizer subsidy in the current fiscal till June 30, 2010, stood at Rs 8,899.56 crore.

In 2007-08, the total bill of fertilizer subsidy was

Rs.43,319.31 crore, which rose to Rs.99,494.72 crore in 2008-09 and in 2009-10 fiscal, it came down to Rs.64,031.94 crore, he said.

He said that total expenditure incurred on providing subsidy on fertilizers in last three years is over Rs two lakh crore.

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