Govt concerned over blackmarketing of urea
New Delhi: Concerned over urea being sold in the black market, Union Minister Ananth Kumar today said states have been sent several advisories to curb the menace even as he asserted that there are no reports of fertiliser shortage.
Kumar, who is the Minister of Chemicals and Fertilisers, said in Lok Sabha during Question Hour that about 10 per cent of urea was sold in the black market and also smuggled for various purposes.
He said it was a matter of concern and the Centre has issued many advisories to state governments to take steps for curbing the blackmarketing of urea.
To deal with black marketing, state governments, as per the Essential Commodites Act, can conduct raids, he said.
Noting that urea supplied were sometimes smuggled for industrial and other purposes, the Minister said its cost was much less in neighbouring Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.
He replied in the negative when he was asked whether there has been shortage in supply of fertilisers.
“On account of supply of fertilisers more than requirement before the sowing season of Kharif 2015, there is no report of shortage/non-supply/inadequacy of fertilisers from any part in the country,” Kumar said.
Citing figures, the Minister said that for the current Rabi season, the Department of Fertilisers has supplied more urea than that given in the last season.
“… this year, supplies as well as sales have been more than that of last year. During current Rabi season due to changed weather conditions and cropping pattern, there was a shift in demand pattern and therefore in the months of December 2014 and January 2015, some states requested urea far more than the projected requirement of these months and the supply was made accordingly,” he said.
About 31 million metric tonnes of urea is required in the country and about 8-9 million metric tonnes are imported.
Kumar said the government has taken many initiatives to make India self-reliant in fertilisers and also put in place a web-based online Fertiliser Monitoring System (FMS) which tracks the availability of fertilisers. The system production, dispatch, receipt and sale of fertilisers on a daily basis.
He also said the government would ensure that Direct Benefit Transfer system would be used to transfer subsidies on fertilisers to farmers.