In the last week or so, farmers in Madhya Pradesh have reported a huge crunch of fertilisers at a time when the farming season is at its peak.
A few days ago, scores of farmers staged road blockade in Bhind and the protest continued on Monday. They even tried looting the fertiliser sacks in Morena, home district of Union Minister of Agriculture, Narendra Singh Tomar.
Several regions in Madhya Pradesh are reporting crunch of fertilisers, especially in the Gwalior-Chambal region. The farmers are lining up in huge numbers in front of co-operative societies for getting stocks, at times since morning to evening, claim locals.
Bhind, Morena and Gwalior are witnessing daily protests from peasants awaiting fertiliser supplies outside co-operative societies. The farmer had staged a road blockade on Saturday on the matter and the police had later booked 150 of them. The protests continued on Monday when an elderly farmer fainted during the protest.
On Monday, the farmers ran out of patience. As a truck laden with fertilsiers reached Sabalgarh town in Mprena, they started running away with these bags. Police reached the spot and resorted to lathi-charge. All this was trapped in cameras.
Earlier, on the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday, farmers had looted fertiliser bags from co-operative society in Ater, the home town of MP Co-operative minister Arvind Singh Bhadauria. Influential locals looted around 50 bags kept at co-operative department godown in village Saraya, claimed locals.
However, the police did not act amid political interference and a co-operative bank officer wishing anonymity said that as expenses of bringing back bags were high, they decided to adjust the bags against the account of the farmers concerned. Farmers listed with the cooperative society have their due quota of fertilisers.
Anita Gurjar, Phoop Thana in-charge, said they had received a complaint of loot but later none confirmed the incident before the police.
Bharatiya Kisan Union state head Anil Yadav said that the state is facing an acute shortage of fertilisers and the farmers have been standing in queues for several days. Alleging black marketing, Yadav said a Rs 1,200 bag of DAP is currently being sold Rs 1,400.
Congress farm union leader Kedar Sirohi said private traders are making farmers buy additional chemicals with the bags of regular fertilsiers like urea and DAP. “As we constantly talk of lowering cost of cultivation, farmers are made to pay extra,” he alleged. Apart from being sold at cooperative societies, the chemical fertilisers are only sold at private outlets.
The rabi season has commenced in the farming sector and jwar and bajra crops are uncut in the farms and mustard crop will also be due in the state shortly.
Referring to incidents in Bhind and Morena, PCC chief Kamal Nath said that the rabi season has commenced and there is a huge shortage of DAP and farmers are being forced to stand in long queues.
“It’s a double whammy for farmers amid power shortage,” added Nath, accusing an ‘unaware’ CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan of being busy in poll campaigning instead of helping farmers.
Meanwhile, agriculture minister Kamal Patel denied the shortage charges, saying the state already has 2.5 lakh metric tonnes of stocks. He added that farmers are getting fertilisers but there are elements who are buying more than what they need. “This will be checked,” Patel was quoted as saying by a Hindi news portal.