Manipur continued to face shortage of fertiliser, despite the dwindling land area of paddy fields and the government's claim that there is enough stock of urea every year, a farmers body said on Tuesday.
Addressing mediapersons in Imphal, Loumee Shinmee Apun Lup (LOUSAL) president Mutum Churamani said that the land area of paddy fields is decreasing every year due to encroachment or being turned into land for houses or fish farms. And the government claims that there is enough stock of fertilisers, but there’s always a long queue of farmers waiting for fertilisers and reports of shortages, he said.
He said that in the year 2012, the state required 15,000 metric tons of urea but the requirement rose to 22,000 metric tons some years ago. If there is a growing need for urea but if it is not sufficient despite availability, it means it is probably used for poppy plantation, he alleged.
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A protest rally was organised by LOUSAL, Bishnupur Unit, under the banner of 'Fight for Right Campaign' on July 5. The protest rally was staged along Nachou Panthong Tiddim Road, demanding proper allocation of urea fertilisers to farmers and appealed to all concerned to refrain from indulging in petty politics in the distribution of urea fertilisers to the farmers.
After that, urea fertilisers were distributed in some districts through the concerned district agriculture authority. But then, on Monday (July 11), an unfortunate incident took place at Imphal West district agriculture office due to negligence of officials wherein farmers had been queuing up from late night to get urea but the officials did not distribute it till 11 am. Angry with that, the frustrated farmers threw out the urea, Churamani said.
The law-and-order system in the state improved when the BJP government came to power but only about 400 staff (approximately) of the required 1,200 official staff of agriculture department are working, he informed and suggested that if there is shortage of manpower in distributing fertilisers, it can be solved systematically.
To solve the issue, soil health cards should be furnished to farmers based on the farmer's paddy field so that there will be no issue of shortage of fertilisers, he said.
“As long as there are egocentric commissioners or officers who follow MLA/minister orders, there will be no solution”, Churamani said and suggested the appointment of Agriculture Producer Commissioner for bridging the gap between other aligned departments.
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LOUSAL vice-president Laishram Shyam said there is a big shop in Wabagai with about 400 bags of urea fertilisers, which they found while inspecting through some source.
Some volunteers, who claimed to be members of Kakching District United Club, stated that the urea available at Shanta fertiliser shop, Wabagai is for Usham Deben, MLA of Wabagai, Shyam informed and called on the MLA for clarification. It was learnt that the shop owner supplies the urea fertiliser in the hill districts, he added.