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Why fertilizer crisis in Manipur despite surplus procurement, asks LOUSHAL

LOUSHAL president Mutum Churamani (middle)

The government is paying no heed to farmers’ cry for failure to get fertilizer timely for use in their paddy fields, lamented Mutum Churamani

TFM News Service

It is a matter of surprise that Manipur farmers could not get subsidized urea fertilizer even as the state government has procured more than required quantity from the centre, said Loumee Shinmee Apun Lup (LOUSHAL) on Sunday. It asked the state government whether surplus fertilizer procured in the name of farmers found its way in black market.

In a press conference held at the HERICOUN office in Konung Mamang in this regard, its president Mutum Churamani said the fertilizer crisis being faced by farmers in Manipur is the worst this year. The government is paying no heed to farmers’ cry for failure to get fertilizer timely for use in their paddy fields, he lamened. Death of a farmer at midnight was even reported in a mishap while rushing to get a fertilizer bag, it said.

It may be noted that in the 13th session of 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly Session, MLA K Ranjit raised the issue of fertilizer crisis in the state faced by the farmers. Total arable land in Manipur is 195,000 hectares. Out of this, 16,000 hectares are waterlogged; 79,000 hectares are in hill areas and 7,500 hectares are chemical fertilizer free organic areas under Manipur Organic Mission Agency (MOMA). Total cultivation areas that require urea fertilizer is just 80,500 hectares. If one hectare requires three bags of 45 kg each as per the state government’s policy, Manipur needs 241,500 bags of fertilizers, said MLA K Ranjit.

Agriculture Minister O Lukhoi also informed the House that as of August 21, Manipur has lifted 314,000 bags of urea, out of which 219, 181 fertilizer bags were distributed to farmers through elected representatives, civil societies organizations (187,181 bags) and DCs (32,000 bags). Besides, a local cable TV reported that Manipur lifted more fertilizer which is kept in Jiribam as it could be brought to Imphal due to poor road condition.

Churamani further said Manipur got 314,000 bags against the required 241,500 bags. After the distribution of 219, 181 bags, 94,819 bags are still left. Despite this, farmers could not get the fertilizer. It has exposed the state government’s mismanagement in fertilizer distribution, he said.

The Manipur government started procuring fertilizers in April under its control and private retailers also get fertilizers through their dealers, he said. Questioning the purpose for procuring surplus fertilizers, farmers wondered why they could not get subsidized fertilizer while it is available abundantly in black market, he added.

Churamani also said after the fertilizer crisis snowballed this year, LOUSHAL has already flagged the issue and urged the government to constitute an inquiry committee to present its report to the public after a thorough probe. Saying there are reports of fertilizers being used in poppy plantations, he said the state government should take the matter seriously and put in place a system to resolve the issue permanently.

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