Thirty-one tonnes of DAP fertilizer, for which there is huge demand in the market, was discovered during a raid by farmers at the Central Warehousing Corporation's godown at Gokul village near Hubli.

Thirty-one tonnes of DAP fertilizer meant for Dharwad district and found at a godown near Hubli triggered protests by farmers on Saturday.

The fertilizer, for which there is huge demand in the market, was discovered during a raid by farmers at the Central Warehousing Corporation's godown at Gokul village, near here.

Conflicting explanations given by officials of the Agriculture Department and the Karnataka State Cooperative Marketing Federation (KSCMF) for the presence of this fertilizer further angered the farmers.

A total of 160 tonnes of DAP fertilizer, meant for distribution in Gadag, Haveri and Uttara Kannada districts as well, was stored at the warehouse.

The farmers, led by Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) members Suresh Dasanur, Rajashekhar Menasinakai and Babajan Mudhol, who discovered the “additional” fertilizer wanted to know why it was not being distributed among the cooperative societies. They alleged that KSCMF officials were allowing the sale of DAP fertilizer on the black market.

Mr. Deshpande, a KSCMF official, initially maintained that there were only 11 tonnes of DAP fertilizer in the godown, which would be distributed as per the directions of the Agriculture Department.

He then admitted to the presence of 20 more tonnes of the fertilizer. This belonged to cooperative societies that had not lifted them, he claimed.

Later, he said the 20 tonnes of fertilizer had been allotted to the Taluk Agriculture Produce Cooperative Marketing Society (TAPCMS), Hubli.However, this claim was refuted by Mr. Dasanur himself, who is also member of TAPCMS.

Unaware

Meanwhile, Hubli tahsildar S.S. Biradar and P.N. Patil, Assistant Director of Agriculture, rushed to the spot to sort out the issue. Mr. Patil said he was unaware of the availability of the 20 tonnes of additional fertilizer and insisted that he had not asked that it be distributed. Upon hearing this, the protesters took Mr. Deshpande to task.

The protesters demanded that the officials immediately distribute the fertilizer at the warehouse to cooperative societies, who would then distribute it among the farmers.

The arrival of the former MLA C.S. Shivalli, State vice-president of the farmer's wing of the Janata Dal (Secular) Gangadhar Patil and Ganesh Naik, Joint Director, Agriculture, led to further commotion. Mr. Naik, who also claimed ignorance about the stock, promised that he would file complaints against KSCMF officials if it was found that they had provided him wrong information.

Allotment on Monday

Finally, Mr. Naik promised to distribute the fertilizer to various cooperative societies from Monday.

It may be recalled that there was a similar raid led by farmers on Friday, on a warehouse in Dharwad. The farmers had alleged that the fertilizer there was being adulterated.

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