Multipronged measures are being taken by the Department of Fertilizers, Government of India to deter any malpractices and ensure quality fertilizers for the farmers on the directions of Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers Dr Mansukh Mandaviya.
These measures have resulted in averting the diversion and black marketing of fertilizers in the country. Talking to ANI, Mandaviya said, “The Fertiliser Flying Squads have conducted over 370 surprise inspections across 15 states/UTs which included mixture units, Single Superphosphate (SSP) units and NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium) units. Consequentially, 30 FIRs have been registered for diversion of urea, and 70,000 bags have been seized of suspected urea from Gujarat, Kerala, Haryana, Rajasthan, Karnataka and out of which 26,199 bags have been disposed of as per FCO guidelines.”
“The fertilizer flying Squad have also inspected three border districts of Bihar including Araria, Purnia and West Champaran, three FIRs have also been filed against urea diverting units; 10 including 3 mixture manufacturing units in border districts have been de-authorized,” a Ministry official told ANI.
“112 mixture manufacturers have been de-authorized due to several discrepancies and lapses found in documentation and procedures. Sample testing has also been ramped up with 268 samples tested as of now, of which 89 (33%) have been declared sub-standard and 120 (45%) found with neem oil content. For the first time, 11 persons have been jailed under Prevention of Black-Marketing and Maintenance of Supplies Act for diversion and black marketing of urea in the last one year” Mandaviya told ANI
Chemical and Fertilizer Ministry officials said that Several other legal and administrative proceedings have also been exercised by states through Essential Commodities (EC) Act and Fertilizer Control Order (FCO).
Mandaviya further told ANI that “Despite the world facing a fertilizer crisis due to various global downturns the Government of India is providing urea to farmers at reasonably subsidized rates (a 45 kg bag of urea costing approx. Rs. 2,500 is being sold at Rs. 266).
Besides agriculture, urea is also used in many other industries too, like UF resin/glue, plywood, resin, crockery, moulding powder, cattle feed, dairy and industrial mining explosives. Any illegal diversion of this highly subsidized urea meant for the farmers and agriculture for non-agriculture/ industrial purposes by many private entities results in a shortage of urea meant for farmers.
Ministry officials further told ANI that A strict vigil is now being undertaken for ensuring the quality of products as well as licenses. Due to such relentless efforts, there has been an increase in demand for Technical Grade Urea. Due to fewer licenses being issued by States for mixture manufacturing, many of the existing mixture manufacturing units have shifted to selling bio and organic fertilizers, thus promoting natural farming to reduce the consumption of chemical fertilizers. Proactive measures have not only benefitted the farmers but have also created cross-country demand for our fertilizers.
Stoppage of cross-border smuggling of urea has consequently led to neighbouring countries requesting India for urea imports to their respective countries for the first time.
Special teams of dedicated officers called Fertilizer Flying Squads (FFS) have been formed to keep a strict vigil and to check diversion, black marketing, hoarding and supply of sub-standard quality fertilizers across the country.
This report is filed by ANI news service.