SAMBALPUR: Even as adequate rainfall has expedited agriculture operations in the district, rumours of a fertiliser crisis has got farmers of the region worried.
The Agriculture department had estimated requirement of 20,000 tonne of fertiliser for the current Kharif season of which the district has received 14,000 tonne so far. However, of the procured quantity, there is no record of around 3,300 tonne of fertiliser and this has led to fear of a crisis among the farmers in the district.
Variance in the stock has given rise to allegations of black marketing and hoarding of fertiliser. Since urea makes up for a major share of the total unrecorded stock, the farmers are anticipating a shortage in its supply during the season. The district Agriculture office, though, has assured that the situation is under control.
Deputy Director Agriculture Khagendra Nath Jena said all the registered distributors and societies have been directed to carry out every transaction through Point of Sale (POS) machines to maintain record of sales. The POS machines also record the credentials of farmers like their Aadhar and registration number.
However, this year, a large number of distributors have sold fertilizer through offline transaction and this has resulted in discrepancy in the quantity. The total difference in stock as per Agriculture department’s records is 3,319,385 tonne.
Jena said, out of the total registered dealers, the department has already identified 46 Primary Agricultural Cooperative Societies (PACS) and 95 private merchants who have sold the unrecorded quantity of fertiliser to farmers. He said letters have been sent to all 141 distributors instructing them to record the offline sales on the POS system with all credentials of the farmers and update it at the earliest.
Moreover, a team has been formed for inspecting cash books and log books of the registered PACS and private dealers to check any malpractice. So far, the team has issued notices to two PACS and four private dealers who were found to be selling large quantities of fertiliser without generating cash memos or keeping any record. Besides, all assistant agricultural officers have been instructed to ensure a strict check on distributors.
However, Jena denied all claims of black marketing and assured that the department will take necessary action against any misconduct once the record is updated on POS machines. The rest 6,000 tonne of fertiliser will be procured and made available soon, he stated.