Contractor lets down state farmers, fertiliser crisis lingers

IMPHAL30th Aug: Though a special train had delivered 1200 metric tonne (MT) fertilisers at Jiribam from Namrup fertiliser factory following the CM’s intervention, the shipment is yet to arrive here despite assurance by the government.

According to sources, the government was confident that the shipment would arrive at Imphal on Thursday evening in 80 to 100 trucks. However, failure on the part of the transport contractor to mobilise requisite number of trucks resulted in delay of shipment of the fertiliser. The urea shipment arrived at Jiribam in 21 compartments of the special train. So far, six trucks have been loaded by opening five compartments. Even though the few loaded trucks reached Imphal on Friday, it would be taking longer for the whole shipment to arrive at Imphal.

On the other hand, farmers have no choice but to buy at higher price from the market since urea needs to be applied at certain stage of cultivation and they fear if it would be too late for them to wait for the government’s initiative. A leader of a CSO protesting against the poor policy of the government told The People’s Chronicle that the government is aware of the situation being faced by the farmers. But despite that the government is facilitating businessmen taking undue advantage of the situation, the leader alleged.

As per information received from the department, the government did not initiate the tender process in time, he said. The highways leading to the state always face multiple landslides during rainy season and the government is well aware of this fact.

Instead of preparing for the worst by making prior arrangement for transportation of fertilisers on both highways, the authority selected transport contractors only for NH 2, which amounts to deliberate attempt to create artificial scarcity of fertilisers in favour of some businessmen, he maintained.

The government only acts when there is hue and cry from the public, he said while questioning the reason for the delay in bringing in the urea shipment from Jiribam to Imphal as assured by the CM. The latest development has once again proved that the government selected transport contractors without adequate trucks for transporting the special shipment, he continued.

He further demanded the reason for failure of the government to store adequate stocks of fertiliser, which should be used within a specific period even though the government could keep adequate stocks for petroleum products and rice even during landslides on the both highways.

Mention may be made that the government had earlier provided fertilisers from the department storehouse in Imphal, which created severe inconveniences including loss of time and money for farmers from far flung areas in coming to Imphal to get one or two bags of urea. This immature policy drew flaks from the farmers and CSOs resulting in protest. Only after agitated farmers stormed the department storehouse and took fertilisers, agriculture minister V Hangkhanlian took up steps to provide subsidised fertilisers through respective district agriculture officers.

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