HYDERABAD: The shortage of urea in Telangana is snowballing into a political issue with the BJP asking the State government to explain why it had bungled in reaching the crop-nutrient to farmers when the Centre had released it in enough quantity and in time.
The BJP’s offensive against the State has all the trappings of a conflagration in the making with the State having already blaming the Centre for not keeping up its word in supplying urea as and when it is needed.
As farmers are crying hoarse over the acute scarcity of urea, BJP State president K Laxman on Wednesday said that the State had bungled in the distribution of urea to farmers. “It is not proper to blame the Centre. It has done its job of despatching enough urea. It is your responsibility to distribute it to farmers,” he said in Delhi.
Agriculture Minister S Niranjan Reddy had recently said that he had sounded an SOS to Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on August 19 for release of urea quota allotted to the State. The Centre has allotted 8.5 lakh tonnes but released only 3.97 lakh tonnes of which 2.12 lakh tonnes had reached the farmers.
If the late onset of monsoon had caused enough damage for Kharif crop, non-availability of urea is killing farmers’ hope for a reasonable yield. In almost all villages and towns in the State, long queues are being witnessed with farmers entering into arguments with dealers and staff of primary agricultural cooperative societies.
“We have earmarked 2.4 lakh MT for July, 2.4 lakh tonnes for August and 1.2 lakh tonnes for September. Since the State had ordered very less quantity of urea for September, we are facing the problem now,” an official in Hyderabad said.
The scarcity of urea is being experienced for the first time in Telangana. For instance, in Nalgonda, 3.35 lakh hectares are under irrigation but they are caught unawares due to urea shortage. A farmer R. China Somaiah from Yellareddyguda said: “ We are raising crops in 15 acres. But society has sold me only five bags of urea. This is not enough. Though urea is available in private shops, it is prohibitively expensive.’’
In Karimnagar, Sircilla and Jagtial, farmers are spending agonising hours in queues for urea at cooperative societies. In Pegadapalli and Raikal, unable to stand in the queue, farmers are leaving their footwear indicating their position in queue. In Nizamabad district, even women are standing in queue-lines. As Nagarkurnool is witnessing rains, there is a sudden spike in demand for urea. A total of 2.52 lakh hectares is under cultivation this year.
In Warangal, farmers alleged that the societies members were keen on supplying urea to private dealers. Around 46,000 hectares is under paddy cultivation and the requirement is 55,000 metric tonnes. But officials received only 46,000 tonnes of urea in the district.
In Mahabubabad district, the requirement of urea is 11,980 metric tonnes but only 6,980 metric tonnes was distributed. A farmer P Srinivas said that since one-week he was making rounds to the society office for seven bags of urea for his five acres of paddy.
(With inputs from districts)