JHARSUGUDA: Even as farmers are time and again facing shortage of fertilisers, thousands of bags of urea have been damaged in the rain at Jharsuguda. These bags have been kept in the open at the Balijori railway siding for the last four days.
With the Jharsuguda railway authorities yet to take steps to cover the fertiliser bags which amounts to 7875 MT of urea, it is the farmers who will be the worst hit as they have to now procure fresh fertiliser from open market at higher rates or make do with the damp fertiliser that would be supplied to them by the Agriculture Department at a subsidised rate.
The total requirement of fertiliser for Jharsuguda district is 20,070 MT of which, 10232.6 MT has been procured through rail from Phulpur in Uttar Pradesh and other places by IFFCO, to be distributed among farmers. Earlier in the absence of rail siding in Jharsuguda, the fertiliser stock was dumped at Sambalpur and then transported to the district by road.
From this year, Jharsuguda railway authorities made arrangements to transport the fertiliser consignment to Balijora railway siding of Jharsuguda. From here, the stock would be sent to different blocks by road. However, the railway siding has no infrastructure to stock the consignment. In absence of sheds, the fertiliser bags have been kept in the open covered with a plastic sheet that gets removed every time there is a breeze. The entire fertiliser stock has been damaged due to continuous rain for the last few days. Sources said truckers are yet to start lifting the fertiliser bags as they are demanding transportation cost of `170 per tonne of fertiliser against the Government rate of `155.Jharsuguda Deputy Director of Agriculture, S Kerketa said Jharsuguda IFFCO depot in-charge DP Agarwal will be held responsible for any loss of fertiliser as IFFCO has been entrusted with the job of transporting the consignment to different parts of the district.