Assam Agriculture Department Gears up to Curb Black Marketing of Fertilizers
Talking about the reports of irregularities in the fertilizer business, Assam Agriculture Minister Atul Bora on Tuesday stated that the Agriculture Department has taken various steps to crack down on the black marketing of fertilizers.
GUWAHATI: Talking about the reports of irregularities in the fertilizer business, Assam Agriculture Minister Atul Bora on Tuesday stated that the Agriculture Department has taken various steps to crack down on the black marketing of fertilizers.
Bora said that the government also directed the Directorate of Agriculture Department to enquire into the irregularities.
The Minister asserted that there have also been reports that the farmers are procuring urea at much higher rates than the actual rates. During an inquiry, the Agricultural Department with assistance from the District Administration has detected various such irregularities, said Bora.
Based on the inquiry, out of a total of 344 wholesale dealers of fertilizers in the State, the Department has issued show-cause notices to 30 dealers. Moreover, it has suspended the licenses of three shops, sealed one and issued a warning to one wholesale shop. Similarly, out of 1,615 retail dealers, the department has issued show-cause notices to 380 such dealers for committing irregularities. The license of three retail dealers has been suspended. While 16 retail shops have been sealed, a warning has been issued to one shop.
Meanwhile, aiming to tackle the menace of black marketing of fertilizers, the agricultural department has decided to take the following steps –
The retailers cannot use Point of Sale Machines (PoS) while selling fertilizers.
"It has been reported that many retailers are willingly not using the PoS machines while selling fertilizers. Thus, the agricultural department has directed that the retailers use the PoS machines and also provide receipts to the customers. If the retailers don't use the PoS machines then the shop's license will be cancelled," said Bora.
Further, Bora said that the PoS machines should be provided by the fertilizer manufacturing companies to the retailers. The district administration will keep an eye on whether the retailers are using the PoS machines or not.
"Many of the retailers are selling fertilizers without having retail ID. The fertilizer manufacturing companies should provide the retail sellers with a retail ID. If a retailer fails to get a retail ID from the respective company then the license of his/her shop will be cancelled," said Bora.
The Agriculture Department has directed the retail sellers to put up banners mentioning the prices of the fertilizers. The retail sellers can only sell the items in only authorized areas. Or else, their license will be cancelled.
On the issuance of new licenses, Bora said that from now on licenses will be provided to retailers concerning the number of farmer families and the total requirement of fertilizers in the specific area.
"According to an order of the Central government, the retailers should have the following qualification to sell fertilizers — Degree in Agricultural Science or Chemistry, Diploma in Agricultural Science. If the retailers have no such degree then he/she must have undergone training from the National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management, National Institute of Plant Health Management, or any such recognized institution," Bora underlined.
The Minister pointed out that there have been allegations that a section of wholesalers are distributing fertilizers under the name of specific companies at railway rack points. Thus, the department has taken various efforts to curb this practice, he said.
"A wholesaler can only take 200 metric tonnes (MT) of fertilizers from a specific company at a rack point. The Central government has direct the companies to provide fertilizers to the State based on the monthly requirement. However, the companies have not been able to follow the directions. Due to this reason, there has been a shortage of fertilizers and the unscrupulous traders are selling fertilizers at higher rates," said Bora.
Lastly, Bora opined that there are fewer numbers of railway rack points in Assam.
"The State needs at least 16 railway rack points. But there are only seven rack points due to which the supply of fertilizers is not timely," Bora added.