BHUBANESWAR: As transplantation and de-weeding of paddy crops are in full swing in the State and the demand for fertilisers is at the peak, traders have resorted to hoarding and black-marketing of chemical soil nutrients.
Urea is the most sought-after soil nutrient among fertilisers in the State, traders in a bid to make a quick buck are selling it at a premium, almost double the price fixed by the government. While the price of urea is fixed at Rs 266.50 per 45 kg bag remained unchanged in the last three years, the same is being sold at Rs 300-500 per bag.
Sushanta Sahu, a farmer of Padampur block in Bargarh district, considered to be the rice bowl of the State, told this paper that the government-authorised traders are exploiting farmers by demanding an exorbitant price of Rs 400-500 per bag under the plea that there is no stock.
As the traders are required to sell fertilisers through the point of sale machines with Aadhaar authentication, they are maintaining a record of fake farmers while the actual farmers are forced to buy at the price they demand. The traders of the district have formed a nexus and unscrupulous practices are done under the full knowledge of the district administration and field officials of the Agriculture department, Sahu said.
Similar is the complaint of Samar Singh of Gop block in Puri, Ganesh Nayak of Sankhemundi in Ganjam and Basant Barik of Bhograi block of Balasore. The traders are forcing the farmers to buy other products along with the fertilisers they actually needed. The sellers of IFFCO urea are tagging Nano urea (liquid) while PPL DAP traders are tagging Navratna (a soil nutrient), Sahu said.
The artificial scarcity of urea is created in the State despite adequate supply by the Centre. In the monsoon session of the Assembly, Agriculture Minister Ranendra Pratap Swain informed the House that the total availability of fertilisers including DAP, MOP and complex fertilisers for the 2022 Kharif season is 4,05,999 tonnes against 3,14,295 tonnes in the 2021 Kharif season. Director of Agriculture and Food Production could not be contacted for his comment.