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Technical error, moisture loss behind lighter fertiliser bags:

A preliminary inquiry into the allegations of fertiliser bags found weighing less than their disclosed weight by around 400 grams has pinned the blame on moisture loss coupled with a technical error, a state-run Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd (GSFC) official said Monday.

Addressing a press conference in Gandhinagar, GSFC Managing Director Sujit Gulati said an independent expert has been appointed to find out how the technical error took place and whether some staff were at fault as well.

The sale of the firm's 50-kilogramme Di-ammonium Phosphate (DAP) fertiliser bags have been stopped from all its depots in Gujarat, he said, adding that they have been told to start the sale only after making sure of the 50-kg weight.

"Moisture loss is one of the likely reasons for the loss in weight. Our internal inquiry suggested that since these bags were packed in January, we estimated moisture loss may lead to weight reduction of around 100-125 grams," he said.

"Another likely reason is that less fertilizer was filled in these bags due to a technical error in the automatic weighing machine at our plant in Sikka, Jamnagar," Gulati added.

"We have now appointed an independent expert to find out how such a technical error took place. The expert will also probe if it was a case of human error, as to how it went unnoticed by the staff overseeing the packing operations. We expect the inquiry report in one week," he informed.

To eliminate human error, GSFC has decided to discard random checking of bags at the plant, Gulati said, adding that each bag will now be checked through the 'weigh-in-motion' technology.

The date and time of packing will also be printed on each from hereon, the GSFC MD said.

A week ago, farmers in the state's Rajkot district had complained that 50-kg DAP fertiliser bags were lighter by around 400 grams after some of them carried out a check at GSFC's fertilizer distribution depot in Jetpur town.