The Centre has assured the Odisha government that it is ready to supply more than the demanded quantity of fertiliser to the state by September first week.
Responding to the chief minister’s demand for supply of one lakh tonne of urea within next one week, Union minister of state for chemicals and fertiliser, Srikant Jena said, “we are ready to supply more than that by September first week”.
He said, the Centre has already decided to divert urea from the allocation of those states which have not received adequate rainfall to the states which have received good rainfall keeping in view the pace of agricultural activity there.
“The demand of fertiliser in Bihar, Bengal, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and parts of Uttar Pradesh is more as these areas have received good rainfall showing normal agricultural activity. So we can divert fertiliser from the allocation of states like Gujarat, Maharashtra and Karnataka, where farming is dull because of lack of sufficient rainfall”, he added. Besides, Jena said, some of the ships carrying imported fertiliser, which were stuck in the high seas, have started reaching the Indian shores. “So we are in a position to adequate quantity of fertiliser within next couple of weeks”.
The Union minister, however, suggested that the state should share some of the subsidy burden for the benefit of the farmers in view of sharp increase in the prices of fertilisers following spurt in international prices as well as devaluation of rupee against the dollar.“The state government can give additional Rs 2000-3000 per tonne subsidy to the farmers for their well being in addition to the grant provided by the Centre”, he observed.
In a letter to the Prime Minister Manomohan Singh on Friday, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had mentioned that the small and marginal farmers are unable to afford the balanced use of chemical fertilisers as the prices of DAP, Muriate of Potash (MOP) and Complex fertilisers have increased by more than 100 per cent since April last year.
For the current financial year, the Union Government is providing a subsidy of Rs 12000 per tonne on urea, Rs 14350 per tonne on DAP and Rs 14400 per tonne on MOP.
On the Patnaik’s accusation of inadequate supplies of Urea to the state, Jena said, strain in availability of fertilizers in Odisha may be due to possible siphoning of fertlisers for industrial use or to the neighboring states and it needs to be closely monitored by the state.
He questioned the availability of the stocks provided to the state from February to June this year as rainfall have been deficit in many areas compared to normal rain fall last year.
The availability of Urea in the state has increased from 2.34 lakh tonne ( lt) in February-July 2011 to 2.41 lt for February- July this year and for February to August 15 this year, the availability has increased to 2.78 lt compared to 2.71 lt available in the same period of the previous year. Similarly, the availability of DAP+NPK has enhanced from 2.3 lt from February-July last year to 2.76 lt this year.