Centre shifts onus of 'shortage' of fertilzers on States

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New Delhi, Dec 5 (UNI) Asserting that availability of fertilisers is more than the requirement in the country, in the Lok Sabha, the Central Government today held the States responsible for not properly streamlining the supplies while attempting to cover up their 'weakness' on this count by conveniently projecting it as shortage of inputs.

Replying the Call Attention put out by five members on the situation arising out of fertilisers' 'shortages', Chemical and Fertilisers Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said demand of fertilisers assessed by the Agriculture Ministry during the current Rabi season was 14.02 million tonnes (mt) of urea, 4.91 mt of DAP and 1.96 mt of MOP. And the Department of Fertilisers in his Ministry had already drawn plans to supply 15.5 mt of urea, 5.52 mt of DAP and 2.20 mt of MOP.

As per the information received here by the Central Government, availability of stocks in the states were much more than the sales there, Mr Paswan said adding that he wanted to put on record that States, instead of streaming the suplies, had been shifting blame on the Centre for non-availability of stocks in some parts of country.

In this respect, he particularly named the Bihar Government where, Mr Paswan said more fertiliser stocks than the requirement, had already been dispatched.

Besides five members listed to speak on ' Call Attention', several other members wanted to raise the issue in the House but Speaker Somnath Chatterjee did not allow them saying rules did not permit turning the raising of the issue in this manner into a general debate. The Speaker had a tough time in restoring peace in the House for completion of the Minister's reply on the matter.

Mr Paswan also said railways rakes were availabile for delivering the stocks to remote corner of states. But, the State Government tend to give more priority on the transportation of foodgrain and cement which had, no doubt, affected the fertilsers supplies.

At the same time, Mr Paswan said, the Government had taken all requisite measures like monitoring of the supplies at the district level and launched a website for this purpose. And, to ensure that supplies must reach at district headquarters at the earliest, the Government has made a privision to riemburse the subsidy to the producer-cum supplier companies only after reaching the stocks in district-level godowns.

On the long-term strategy, Mr Paswan said arrangement for fertilisers'imports had been made in advance. But admitted that the private companies had created some problems in supplies with the shooting of fertilisers prices in the international market.

To overcome this problem, the domestic production has to be enhanced, he said adding that it was most unfortunate that the NDA had closed the public sector fertiliser manufaturing units. And, now the UPA had decided to revive those units and strengthen the domestic production.

All fertilisers have been deregularised except urea. But fifty per cent of urea, too, has been taken out of the public sector purview. The import of fertilisers has now increased to around 10 millon tonnes a year which was almost neglibible earlier.


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