CM asks DCs to invoke PD Act against ''erring'' fertiliser traders

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Hyderabad, Jun 14 (UNI) Taking serious note of ''artificial scarcity of fertilisers created by unscrupulous traders'', Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy today directed the District Collectors to invoke provisions of the Preventive Detention Act to check hoarding.

Addressing the Collectors through video conferencing from the Secretariat, the Chief Minister asked them to step up raids on the outlets of fertiliser traders and book those resorting to hoarding under the PD Act.

Pointing out that the Centre had introduced freight equalisation scheme, he warned the traders of stern action if they sold fertilisers more than the Maximum Retail Price (MRP).

Dr Reddy maintained that the Centre had made available enough stocks with fertiliser companies by increasing the subsidy component by Rs 73,000 crore to Rs 1,03,000 crore this year. The State Government, on its part, had provided Rs 500 crore to the Marketing Federation (MARKFED) for market intervention operations.

The Chief Minister, who reviewed the situation in the wake of police lathi-charge on a group of farmers protesting against non-supply of fertilisers in Vikarabad in Rangareddy district, said the problem arose because the farmers were insisting on the fertiliser variety manufactured by a particular company.

Allaying fears of farmers, he said enough stocks were made available with retail traders by the fertiliser companies, bypassing the wholesale traders to avoid hoarding and wanted the farmers not to resort to ''panic buying''.

Dr Reddy appealed to the peasants to purchase fertilsers only for first dose of application to crops and not for the entire crop, fearing shortage. The price of fertilisers would come down by Rs 30 to Rs 60 within a week following the introduction of nutrients-based fertilisers policy by the Centre.

He asked the Collectors to review the situation on a daily basis and ensure that farmers got adequate quantity of fertilisers.

UNI SM GD HS KN1533

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