Farmers up their ante over ‘artificial’ fertilizers scarcity

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By A Staff Reporter
IMPHAL, July 12: Perturbed by the scarcity of fertilizers at a crucial juncture in cultivating rice, farmers of Lamsang Lairenkabi have threatened to launch an intense agitation if the state government fails to make available desperately needed fertilizers within a week.
As a mark of protest over the current non-availability of fertilizers, hundreds of farmers turned up at Lairenkabi and burnt an effigy of the agriculture minister Ph. Parijat, blaming his lack of competency for the present situation.
The farmers, most of whom were women, wielded placards and banners criticizing Parijat and calling for punitive punishment for black marketers who are allegedly hoarding fertilizers and creating an artificial scarcity. They also declared that they will take the help of civil bodies in carrying out the agitation.
Some of the banners seen at the protest read “agriculture minister must resign from his ministership”, “award punitive punishment to fertilizers looters”, “bring a solution to the artificial scarcity of fertilizer.”
The main concern of the farmers is that the fertilizers are necessarily sprayed within the months of June, July and August when the crops reaps optimal benefits. The usefulness of the fertilizers is severely diminished when they are used after August.
Talking to media persons, a farmer, on the condition of anonymity, stated that such dry spell of fertilizers has always been a concern to the poor farmers and brings disturbances to them in terms of food security and mental peace.
As in the previous years, the government has come a cropper in meeting its responsibility to provide fertilizers at the appropriate time and at the normal prices, she added, referring to the sale of fertilizers at inflated rates ranging from Rs. 600 to Rs. 700 in the black market as the recent government announcement to provide them at subsidized rate of Rs 520 per bag has not materialized so far.

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