According to media reports, there is an acute shortage of urea ever since the new governments in the states of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan began the proceedings. CMs of both the states have complained to the center about Urea shortage in their states. However, the shortage of urea seems to be an artificial crisis and Congress party seems to be dragging the states back to the old times when the lack of urea and rampant black-marketing of it used to be the status-quo.
Union Fertilizer Minister Sadananda Gowda on Friday mentioned that urea supply in country is abundant. States including the Congress-ruled Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh have been provided more fertilizer than their demand. The combined requirement of all the states for the month of December was 21.33 lakh tonnes, however 25.06 tonnes of urea was made available to them, he added.
Accusing some states of making urea supply a “Political issue”, union minister stressed that if there is any shortage of fertilizer, it is due to their distribution inefficiency. The chief secretaries of the respective states are fully satisfied, he added.
The requirement of urea for Rajasthan is of 1.74 lakh tonnes, whereas about 2.08 lakh tonnes of urea was made available to them. The projected requirement of Madhya Pradesh for the year 2017-18 was of 2.2 lakh tonnes, while they were supplied with 2.42 lakh tonnes. Both the states were provided more than their demand, so the big question here is where the rest of urea went.
The only and the obvious reason that surfaces is the irregularity in the urea distribution system. Another important fact to consider is that Urea these days come with ‘neem coating’ which means it can’t be used for any other purpose besides farming. The distribution of urea is completely under the control of local bodies and the state government. It is evident from the above-mentioned fact that if there is any shortage, it is an artificial one and the money is clearly going in the pockets of middlemen in the distribution system.
Sadananda Gowda further said that the center is ready to address the field demand across all the states and any kind of emergent issue. “However, at the same time states are requested to ensure timely and uniform distribution within the state so that farmers get the fertilizers on time. We are monitoring the situation for all the states on an hourly basis”, he added.
Ground reports also suggest that a large number of black marketers are behind the artificial shortage of urea which becomes all the more evident from the testimony of the farmers. A long line of farmers was waiting outside of the distribution office, hoping for their number to come. When a media person talked to one of the farmers, he said, “The fertilizers are sold on a hiked price of Rs 500 against the subsidized price of Rs 200”.
Anybody can blame but very few can solve. The Chief Ministers of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh should investigate into the flaws in the distribution system rather than passing the buck to the central government which has supplied more than what the states demanded. The state governments must crack down on the middlemen and black marketers. Their concerted efforts to project the central government of Narendra Modi as the villain in the matter fails on numbers and facts.