Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has written to the PM demanding an immediate withdrawal of the Centre Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) on fertlisers, saying it was driving up prices and causing hardship to farmers in the TN.
She demonstrated this point by drawing up a list of fertiliser prices that had grown manifold in a period of one month, between April 17 and June 18 this year. She listed the prices of various brands of Muriate of Potash (MOP), Diammonium Phosphate (DAP) and complex fertiliser, pointing out rises of 300 percent and above in some categories, to demonstrate the effect the NBS policy was having on fertiliser prices.
Jayalalithaa also hit out against the decision of the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers, presently headed by DMK’s M K Alagiri, to reduce the subsidy for 2012-2013 for DAP to ‘14,350 per MT from ‘19,763 per MT last year, and for MOP to ‘14,400 per MT as against ‘16,054 per MT last year.
She also expressed concern over rumours that the Ministry is planning to cut subsidies further and instead enhance those on bio-fertilisers.
Saying her government had mitigated the blows of these policy decisions by waiving the 4 percent VAT levied on fertilisers, Jayalalithaa demanded an immediate withdrawal of the NBS policy. “Otherwise a situation will emerge wherein farming will become absolutely un-remunerative, resulting in large tracts of land being left uncultivated,” she said. Touching on the topic of shortfall in fertiliser supply, she said farmers in the State had been forced to contend with non-availability of fertilisers, what with the total supply only measuring up to 50 per cent of the total requirement. “I strongly urge you to immediately allocate the estimated full requirement of DAP to the State to meet the demand for the Kuruvai cultivation, which is already underway,” she urged.
Despite these constraints, steps taken by the Tamil Nadu government had helped the State clock an all-time high level of food grain production at 103.85 lakh MT during 2011-2012. The letter called for the Prime Minister’s immediate intervention in the matter.