Central government to rush fertilisers to Karnataka (Lead)

June 12th, 2008 - 9:08 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

Bangalore, June 12 (IANS) Two days after one person was killed in police firing on farmers protesting against fertiliser and seed shortage, the central government has decided to send adequate quantities of fertilisers to Karnataka for overcoming the scarcity across the state. Home Minister V.S. Acharya told reporters here Thursday that on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s directive, Union Fertiliser Minister Ram Vilas Paswan assured Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa late Wednesday that about 140,000 tonnes of DAP (di-ammonium phosphate) would be dispatched to Karnataka by June 20.

“Paswan has also agreed to rush 110,000 tonnes of complex fertiliser by next week. The fresh stocks will enable state cooperatives and dealers to supply fertilisers to farmers who have begun sowing following timely onset of the south-west monsoon,” Acharya said.

As a result of the central government intervention, fertiliser stocks for the entire month will be dispatched to the state 10 days in advance. State-run and private sector fertiliser manufacturers in other states have been told to deliver the required stocks in seven-eight days.

Shortage of fertilisers for distribution along with seeds for cultivating kharif crops led to violent protests and damage to public properties, including state-run buses, in some districts over the past 10 days.The prime minister has understood the gravity of the situation in the state caused due to short supply of fertilisers, Acharya said.

Yeddyurappa met the prime minister Wednesday after a farmer died in police firing Tuesday at Haveri, about 350 km from here, when thousands of farmers took to streets in many districts protesting against the delay in fertiliser supply.

The state cabinet, which met here to review the law and order situation and assess the supply-demand situation, has agreed to advance the delivery of fertilisers due for July to June to tide over the shortage.

With the private-run Mangalore Chemical Fertiliser (MCF) being the lone manufacturer of urea and complex fertilisers in the state, Karnataka is heavily dependent on other private and state-run manufacturers such as FACT, Coramandal, Iffco and Kribco for supply of various types of fertilisers to the tune of 2.9 million tonnes for kharif and rabi crops.

The government has also instituted a vigilance commission to crack down on hoarders and blackmarketers of fertilisers.

“Any person tipping off the commission on hoarding or blackmarketing activities by traders will be rewarded Rs.10,000. Though there is a bit of shortage due to a surge in demand following panic buying by uninformed farmers in some districts, the government will not spare traders indulging in hoarding or selling fertilisers at higher than the stipulated price,” Panchayat Raj and Rural Development Minister Shobha Karandlaje said.

The chief minister appealed to the farmers as well as the public not to resort to violence and attack the police or public property for the delay in supplying fertilisers. He also sought the cooperation of political parties to maintain peace in the state.

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