State-run Gujarat State Fertilizers & Chemicals Ltd (GSFC) on Monday said that its probe had found the company's fertilizer bags were under weight as farmers and traders have said in their complaints.
The Gujarat government public sector undertaking (PSU) said that the 50-kg bags of its di-ammonium phosphate fertilizer, known as Sardar DAP were found to be lighter than the stated weight. The state PSU has ordered suspension of sales of its fertilizer for a week until all the underweight bags are replaced.
"I would wish to begin sale from today itself but it is not possible to replace all the bags. It will take at least a week," Sujit Gulati, managing director, Gujarat State Fertilizers told mediapersons on Monday, Gulati added that the company would not only replace the underweight bags at all of its 284 depots, but was also willing to compensate the farmers.
Attributing the loss in weight to a combination of mechanical and human error, Gulati said, "I have ordered another investigation by an expert to get to the source of the problem and hope he would share the report in a week's time."
Gulati estimated farmer buying the underweight 50 kg fertilizer bags lighter by 400 gram to 500 gram potentially lose Rs 14 per bag, taking the total loss to farmers at roughly Rs 16 lakhs.
"Only about 10 per cent of the total production has been sent out of Sikka unit which manufactures DAP fertilizer," Gulati said while adding that the company would now bag additional 100 grams to 120 grams over and above 50 kilograms in order to preempt any further loss in weight. The company has about 32 lines to bag the fertilizer at Sikka plant, with 12-14 bags coming out of the plant every minute.
Earlier, Gujarat chief secretary J N Singh, who is also chairman of GSFC and Gujarat Narmada Valley Fertilizers & Chemicals Ltd. (GNFC), had ordered a probe while suspending fertilizer sales from depots in the state for the weekend. However, on Monday, the suspension got extended.
"We now hope to begin sales of fertilizers from depots in a day or two," Sanjay Prasad, additional chief secretary, agriculture, Gujarat, told mediapersons.