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Govt may control urea distribution

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"Industry should strengthen its distribution network in order to ensure down the line availability of fertilisers at the farmer's field," Mr Paswan said. Objective of the deregulation not achieved

MR RAM VILAS PASWAN
MR RAM VILAS PASWAN

Our Bureau

New Delhi, March 7

The Ministry of Fertiliser will recommend for a major change in the urea distribution policy and bring it under 100 per cent Government regulation. Urea distribution was 50 per cent deregulated during the erstwhile NDA Government.

Following deregulation, the companies were allowed to sell up to 50 per cent of their production in the region of their choice and 50 per cent was directed by the Ministry in consultation with the State governments.

The objective of the deregulation has not been achieved as most companies were selling in nearby areas and were not carrying the product too far, the Minister for Chemicals and Fertiliser, Mr Ram Vilas Paswan, said here today while addressing the first meeting of the reconstituted Fertiliser Advisory Forum. "Industry should strengthen its distribution network in order to ensure down the line availability of fertilisers at the farmer's field," Mr Paswan said.

He said consumption of fertilisers would increase threefold, if adequate supply is made available to the farmers at the right time. He also said he has written to the Prime Minister for an additional allotment of Rs 6,900 crore as fertiliser subsidy over and above the budgeted provision of approximately Rs 17,000 crore.

The Minister also stressed that there should not be hoarding of fertilisers at any level in the supply chain leading to even a temporary shortage.

To help the smaller farmers whose requirements are less urea manufacturers would be asked for making 10 kg and 20 kg sacks also. Urea is currently packed in 50 kg bags. Also, now onwards the maximum retail price would be printed on the bags to curb black marketing, the Minister said.

Mr Paswan also clarified that no state-owned fertiliser unit would be put on the block for sale and instead they would be revived for which the Ministry is trying to ensure availability of gas.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 8, 2006)
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