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Tuesday, November 3, 1998
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DAP shortage hits farmers
Rabi sowing may be delayed
From Tribune Reporters

MUKTSAR, Nov 2 — Paddy and cotton growers of Punjab are again in difficulty as they are facing acute shortage of DAP fertiliser needed for sowing wheat and other Rabi crops.

Farmers who still are waiting to sell their paddy in grain markets are now rushing towards fertiliser distribution centres run by cooperative sector and private traders to get fertiliser timely to avoid delayed sowing of wheat.

In this town, long queue of farmers have been seen in front of distribution centres for the past seven days for fertiliser but without success.

Trade sources said that only two lakh mt of DAP was available in Punjab against the requirement of 4.5 lakh mt. As private traders and the central government were at dispute on the issue of subsidy, DAP fertiliser could not be imported by them in bulk to meet demand of entire country.

Maggar Singh, a farmer said that he had been running from his heaps of paddy in the market to the DAP distribution centre for the past seven days. Neither could he sell his paddy nor could he get any bag of DAP fertiliser.

Malkit Singh of Teona village in Bathinda district said that earlier he had to spend about eight days in the grain market for selling his paddy and now he again had spent about six days to get DAP fertiliser. But he could not get any bag so far.

Gurtej Singh of Nathana said that he had prepared his fields for sowing the wheat about five days ago but he could not sow the wheat due to un-availability of DAP fertiliser.

Mr Major Singh, Agriculture Officer, Muktsar, said that there was only 7000 mt of DAP available in the district against the requirement of 23000 mt. He added that only the Punjab Agro and one private trader was selling the DAP fertiliser to the farmers in controlled manner.

The farmers alleged that private traders were compelling them to buy four bags of urea with 10 bags of DAP fertiliser which was not required by them at this moment. They alleged that they had to 'bow' before the 'wishes' of private traders as they had no other alternative.

Mr Kulwant Singh Willing, Chief Agriculture Officer, Bathinda told The Tribune in this district about 14000 mt of DAP was available against the requirement of 31,000 mt. He added that 7000 mt more DAP would reach within four days. He said that farmers were doing panic buying and hoarding DAP fertiliser.

Mr Narinder Mittal, a fertiliser dealer said that against the requirement of 35 lakh mt of DAP in the country only 20 lakh mt was available. He said that due to the controlling of prices by the central government, private traders did not import the DAP as they were suffering heavy losses.

On the other hand, Jaswant Singh of Ablu Mehma village said that sowing period of the wheat was from October 25 to November 15 and added that if the sowing war delayed the yield of wheat would decrease very much. He apprehended that farmers would also suffer losses in the next crop as an acute shortage of DAP fertiliser was a strong indication of it.

Mr Major Singh Agriculture Officer, Muktsar said that they had sent telegrams to State Agriculture Department authorities to make arrangements for the supply of necessary quantity of fertiliser.

GURDASPUR: Farmers here are worried in view of an acute shortage of DAP fertilisers in this district during these days. According to Mr Keshav Bahl, a progressive farmer of the area spray of DAP fertiliser was essential before bringing fields under cultivation of wheat.

Long queue of farmers was noticed today in front of the office of IFFCO, a government owned fertiliser agency on the road here today. A farmer is given 5 bags of DAP on a control price of Rs 415 per bag. The farmers told that IFFCO does not have sufficient stocks to meet the needs of the farmers of this district. They said that the stocks of DAP fertilisers provided to the farmers are far less than demands.

DAP fertiliser is available at Rs 450/- per bag in the black market. The farmers alleged that the black marketing was going on with the alleged connivance of the authorities.

The farmers said that their difficulty worsened when commission agents in the grain market refuse to make them payment immediately against paddy supplies which led to financial problems for the farmers.

The farmers demanded immediate intervention by higher authorities to provide them regulated supply of DAP fertiliser at control price.

MOGA: Rabi sowing in almost all villages in Moga district has been held up following unavailability of DAP fertiliser. Stating this here today former president of the Punjab unit of Bharatiya Kisan Union, Kuldip Singh Sandhu said that although the Deputy Commissioner, Moga Mr Kulbir Singh Kang, had already banned the export of DAP fertiliser from this district but even then it was hardly available at dealers shops in the district . Mr Sandhu who was speaking to newsmen here today said that the dealers in this district were now taking advantage of its shortage have started indulging in malpractice and were forcing farmers to buy other items too along with DAP.

He said that there was big crowd of farmers in front of these shops for DAP fertiliser but large number of them returned disappointed. Almost daily as their demand was not met. He said it has not only caused resentment among the farmers busy sowing rabi. He also accused certain dealers indulging in corruption and farmers were not only cheated but it was selling at a premium, he said. He had therefore demanded a probe into it and action against guilty dealers.back

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