IMPHAL, July 19: The farmers of Wangoo and Kumbi areas in Bishnupur district have strongly decried the artificial scarcity of fertilizers and the subsequent price hike in the state.
A public meeting was jointly organized by the Plain and Hill Development Organization, Ithai and Wangoo Naodakhong Progressive Farmers’ Development Association at Naodakhong Makha Leikai today.
Speaking at the meeting, the secretary of Plain and Hill Development Organization, Karam Gyaneshwar stated that the total requirement of fertilizers in the state is 20,000 metric tones and for the welfare of the farmers the state government has fixed the price of 50 kg bag of urea fertilizer at Rs. 520 along with a subsidy of Rs 100 per bag. However, all these policies have been turned upside down by agriculture minister Ph Parijat by allowing only some of his close aides to procure the fertilizers.
He further stated that the minister has indeed failed to keep his promises to the farmers. The poor farmers of the state are still buying the much needed fertilizers at a very high price as against the government rate of Rs. 520 per bag.
The state government cannot give lame excuses for this crisis as the condition of the national highways is fine and there is also no problem with the law and order situation. The farmers would launch stern agitations if the crisis is not solved at the earliest possible, Gyaneshwar averred.
The secretary of All Manipur Progressive Farmers’ Association, Thoiba Konthoujam slammed agriculture minister Parijat’s remark on the farmers voicing against shortage of fertilizers as “fake farmers”.
The economy of the state is predominantly based on agriculture and so it would be wrong on the part of the agriculture minister to create a fertilizer crisis in the state, he asserted.
Thoiba further demanded the state government to abolish the policy of giving subsidy as the farmers could not avail such benefits.
The farmers only want sufficient quantity of fertilizers to meet the requirement and not the subsidy due to which the government is politicizing the fertilizer crisis for making some undue gains. The time has come for the farmers to demand their rights, the secretary enjoined.
The president of All Manipur Loumi Sinmi Apunba Lup, L Ranjit stated that the state has been facing the shortage of fertilizers for the last many years even though there is a national agricultural policy implemented all over the country.
The agriculture minister who himself belongs to a party which works for the cause of farmers and workers has diverted from the ideals of his own party and has began to indulge in selfish profit making activities, he asserted.
Ranjit also appealed to the concerned authority to check the sale of fertilizers in the black market through some unauthorized agents.
Meanwhile, the Consumers’ Club Manipur has appealed to the concerned authority to make necessary arrangement to make the fertilizers available to the farmers timely.