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Change in distribution network caused M.P. urea shortage: Shivraj Singh Chouhan

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Union Minister Tomar assures State of adequate supply

Amid reports of urea shortage in Madhya Pradesh during the rabi season, former Chief Minister and BJP vice-president Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Saturday said the State government’s negligence to act timely and change in the distribution network had led to the situation.

During a meeting with Union Minister for Agriculture Narendra Singh Tomar in New Delhi, he apprised him of the shortage. Assuring him of an additional shipment of 2.88 lakh metric tonne (LMT), Mr. Tomar said, “The State government will receive 15 rakes of urea in the next two-three days. And instead of 5 LMT quota for December, the government will get more than 7 LMT urea to meet the demand.”

Mr. Chouhan’s meeting came after Chief Minister Kamal Nath on Tuesday had asked the BJP in the Opposition to press the Centre to send additional urea shipments to the State, instead of “playing politics” over the shortage during the rabi season (October - February).

The area under wheat cultivation in the State has increased, given the extended monsoon towards the fag end of the kharif season (July-October), when more than 46% of annual average rainfall had ravaged crops, especially soyabean.

In November, Mr. Nath had sought intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to expand the State’s quota of 15.4 LMT by 2.4 LMT. Pointing to the shortage, he had said, “Against the allocated amount of 8.76 LMT of urea for the month of November, the State has received only 6.85 LMT of urea leading to a situation of shortage.”

Meanwhile, seconding Mr. Chouhan’s contention, Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers, D.V. Sadananda Gowda, said the current crisis could be a result of issues with the ground-level distribution network. “Recently the State government has decided to distribute 80% of urea through cooperatives and 20% through private dealer network. This ratio was previously 50:50”, he said. There is a heavy rush at State Markfed outlets which is being reported as shortage.

Accepting the demand for expanding the urea quota, yet stating there was enough of it with the State government, Mr. Gowda, during a meeting with State Agriculture Minister Sachin Yadav on Thursday, said, “The same has also been reported upon by representatives of State government during recent weekly video conferences with officers of my department.”

According to the Centre, the ongoing rabi season in the State had started with a comfortable urea opening stock of 5.96 LMT — more than one-third of its total seasonal requirement.

To address the peak demand during the current month, the Centre had ensured the supply plan for December was issued at its beginning. “Fertiliser companies have been advised to ensure urea dispatches on pro-rata basis to fulfil the field demand. The Railways have given priority to urea movement from the ports. In case of Madhya Pradesh, nearly 85 urea rakes had been dispatched from plants and ports,” said a note from the Union Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2020 1:33:57 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/change-in-distribution-network-caused-mp-urea-shortage-shivraj-singh-chouhan/article30308569.ece

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