Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday reached out to farmers, claiming the Centre had insulated them from the sudden spurt in international fertiliser and urea prices by providing subsidies worth Rs 76,000 crore.
Addressing a public meeting after inaugurating the Rs 8,600-crore Gorakhpur fertiliser factory, Modi said soil nutrients NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Potassium) and urea accounted for central subsidies worth Rs 43,000 crore and Rs 33,000 crore, respectively this year.
“Since our government is pro-farmer, we decided not to pass on the impact of higher prices of fertilisers to farmers. While the global prices are ruling at Rs 60-65 per kg, the prices for our farmers are 10-12 times cheaper,” he said.
Sharpening his attack on the Opposition, he equated the red caps worn by Samajwadi Party workers with laal batti (red beacons) that suggest a hunger for power, sounding a “red alert” against them in the state which chooses its next government early next year. “Today, the entire UP knows very well that those wearing the red caps are concerned about the red beacon and not bothered about your pain and sorrows,” he said, apparently referring to the beacon atop cars carrying VIPs.
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav hit back, saying the people wearing red caps are “red alerts” also for the BJP as they will oust it from power in the assembly polls.
“For the BJP, there is a red alert of inflation, of unemployment, of the bad plight of farmers and labourers, of Hathras and Lakhimpur Kheri (incidents) of the oppression of women and youths, of a destroyed education system, business and health, besides the red cap, which will oust the BJP from power,” said former UP chief minister in his tweet.
At the inauguration event, the PM also recalled fertiliser shortages in the past and slammed the previous state governments over delays in payment by sugar mills.
Modi said the Centre was working on a multi-pronged strategy to attain self-reliance in fertilisers and streamline supplies. This includes neem-coating urea to curb non-farm diversion, providing soil health cards to farmers for judicious use and augmenting domestic production. Currently, five plants are being revived by the Centre, of which the Gorakhpur unit, which was shut in 1990, has been restarted. These five plants are expected to increase the domestic capacity by 6 million tonnes.