Dakshina Kannada is facing a shortage of 2,500 tonnes of fertilizer this season, the zilla panchayat was told during a meeting to review the progress of the Karnataka Development Programme (KDP) here on Monday.
An official representing the Department of Agriculture said that the district needed about 6,200 tonnes of Suphala brand fertilizer.
The district recently received 722 tonnes of this fertilizer and the entire quantity had been distributed among different outlets, he said.
The fertilizer, which arrived by rail from Mumbai, got wet while it was being unloaded. This issue needed immediate attention, he said.
Chief Executive Officer of the zilla panchayat P. Shivashankar asked the department to send a note to him regarding these problems so that he could raise them during the tri-monthly KDP review meeting.
The Agriculture Department official maintained that an alternative fertilizer containing nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium in the ratio of 10:10:20 was available and it was found to be suitable for the type of soil in the district. However, it was not popular among farmers, he added. Efforts were being made to educate farmers on the use of this fertilizer.
When Mr. Shivashankar expressed concern over banks and cooperative societies not extending long-term loans to farmers in the district, officials attributed it to poor recovery. Members of the Kisan Sene were opposing the auctioning of farmers' properties for non-repayment of loans. Government functionaries too had instructed the banks “orally” not to attach farmers' properties in the light of suicide being committed by debt-ridden farmers.
Mr. Shivashankar asked the officials to prepare and submit a list of wilful defaulters, mentioning the reasons for the current situation.
Deputy Director of Public Instruction C. Chame Gowda said that three government and two aided schools had been closed for lack of adequate student strength.
Mr. Shivashankar and Santhosh Kumar Bhadari, president of the Zilla Panchayat, charged the officials with giving incomplete information.