Special Correspondent

More private firms will enter the market to make a bonanza, says Sivaji

Nutrient-based subsidy will lead to productivity: chief of tobacco union

ONGOLE: Former MP Yalamanchili Sivaji urged the Central government to constitute some regulatory mechanism to control prices of fertilizers and spare farmers from problems that might crop up in the wake of changing its fertilizer policies.

Addressing a meeting organised by Acharya Ranga kisan samstha here on Wednesday, Dr. Sivaji said that the new policy may spur fertilizer production more in private sector and more custom-mixed fertilizer brands would hit the market and the prices may go up.

He said that the subsidy policy followed till now was skewed as the government gave more subsidy to inefficient companies. It now proposes to give fixed subsidy and allow the companies to sell at their own price. Also government proposes to give nutrient-based subsidy. Farmers would be given subsidy coupons to the extent different nutrients recommended by scientists for different crops.

Dr. Sivaji felt that more private firms would enter the market to make a bonanza as reflected by the increasing share prices. The government should constitute a regulatory mechanism before it was too late to fix prices of fertilizers to avoid the companies fleece the farmers. He pointed out that the government created regulatory mechanism for power purchase agreements, telecom, oil and natural gas sectors so late that the private entrepreneurs made a fortune.

Any delay in appointment of regulatory authority for fertilizers might lead to spiralling prices causing untold hardship to farmers, he feared.

Andhra Pradesh Tobacco Growers Cooperative Union chairman Chunchu Seshaiah said that the government contemplated the new policy mainly to reduce its subsidy burden. He hoped that the nutrient-based subsidy would remove distortions in application of nitrogen, phosphorous and potash fertilizers, increase productivity at reduced cost.

Samsta chairman, Alla Venkateswara Rao presided.