Urea fertilizer meant for Assam finds its way to Myanmar
The urea meant for distribution among farmers and planters in Assam are reportedly being smuggled to neighbouring Myanmar.
State Government receives reports of fertilizer smuggling to neighbouring country
GUWAHATI: The urea meant for distribution among farmers and planters in Assam are reportedly being smuggled to neighbouring Myanmar. Such smuggling has resulted in an acute shortage of urea in Assam. The State is currently facing a shortage of about 68,000 MTs (metric tonnes) of urea.
Urea is a must for the tea crop that is applied in three splits (phases) — March-April, June-July and August-September. Assam requires about 3.55 lakh MT of urea annually for 20 lakh hectares of crop field, including tea and rubber. Experts say that the main function of urea is to provide the plants with nitrogen to promote green leafy growth and make the plants look lush. Urea can provide only nitrogen and not phosphorus or potassium and thus it is primarily used for bloom growth.
Sources told The Sentinel that Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, while reviewing various schemes being implemented by the agriculture, horticulture and food processing departments here last week, raised the issue of a severe shortage of urea in the State. He admitted that black marketing was the prime cause of urea shortage. Quoting the Chief Minister, sources said the State Government had received complaints that urea was being smuggled into neighbouring Myanmar. The government is discussing with the fertilizer companies how to stop the smuggling.
The Sentinel has been highlighting how the shortage of urea fertilizer is hitting the tea industry hard in Assam. The shortage has turned to be a perennial one due to alleged lack of monitoring and vigilance by the Agriculture Department and black marketing of urea by unscrupulous traders.
The Brahmaputra Valley Fertilizers Corporation Ltd (BVFCL) and Indian Potash Limited (IPL) are the authorized suppliers of the subsidized fertilizers in Assam. There has been a permanent urea shortage for the last few years all over the State. The BVFCL and IPL have failed to bring urea to all districts regularly and based on a plan and system. No dealer knows when the next lot of urea is going to be available.
The Indian Tea Association (ITA) is in constant touch with the Union Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers and the Directorate of Agricultural of the Assam Government in this regard. The association is demanding the earliest solution to the crisis.