TDP, CPM stage walkout over fertiliser 'shortage'

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Hyderabad, Feb 16: Members of the main opposition Telugu Desam Party and Communist Party of India (Marxist) today staged a walkout in the Andhra Pradesh Assembly in protest against ''acute shortage'' of fertilisers.

Dissatisfied with Agriculture Minister N Raghuveera Reddy's reply during question hour on the measures taken up by the Government to prevent blackmarketing and ease fertilisers shortage, TDP Deputy Floor Leader T Devender Goud alleged that the Government lacked proper planning and vigilance resulting in shortage of fertilisers.

He said the 'shortage' was due to moving of fertilisers out of the state and led his party men out of the House. CPI(M) Floor Leader Nomula Narasimhaiah led his party members out after alleging that an 'articificial scarcity' had been created by the fertiliser companies in collusion with the dealers. The traders were 'fleecing' the farmers who had no option but to end their lives.

CPI Floor Leader Chada Venkata Redddy also registered his party's protest over the artificial shortage of fertilisers created by the traders.

While admitting there was shortage of some category of fertilisers, the Minster said both the Union and State Governments were constantly monitoring the situation to ease shortage. The consumption of fertilisers during the previous TDP regime was only 39 lakh tonnes due to drought conditions and consumption had increased to 60 lakh tonnes now.

Accusing the TDP of politicising the issue, the minister said the food grain production was all set to touch 186 lakh tonne this year. The government had allocated Rs 500 crore for purchase of fertilisers and the opposition would be in no way able to discredit the government, he said.

Stating that licences of 110 shops were suspended and five other shops were cancelled following detection of malpractices, Mr Reddy asserted that no erring traders would be spared.


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