Aware of reports about fertilizer shortage in Madhya Pradesh, especially in Gwalior-Chambal district, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan on Friday ordered the imposition of the National Security Act (NSA) against those who engage in the marketing of black fertilizer.

For more than two weeks or so, MP regions have reported fertilizer shortages in the busy spring season as farmers were seen standing in winding queues outside government and private centers in many areas.

Chauhan explained that a control room will be set up in the state that will monitor the distribution of chemical fertilizers around the clock, seven days a week, adding that those who buy more than they need will be under strict monitoring.

The chief minister said the state government was busy making the necessary arrangements and the center was providing support, urging farmers to “exercise restraint”.

Chauhan said that the state will receive 32 additional shelves of fertilizer by October 31, and said he had a telephone discussion with Union Minister Mansukh Mandavia, who assured him of ensuring supplies of urea and DAP in the required quantities in the state.

Chauhan said this at a review meeting attended by Home Minister Dr. Narutam Mishra and senior officers.

Demanding the state government to explain why farmers would take to the streets if there was no shortage of fertilizers in the state, Kamal Nath, head of the center, demanded a white paper on the matter.

Nath said farmer suicides are continuing in Parliament, he said farmer Danpal Yadav, a native of Peepul in Ashoknagar, had ended his life and his relatives claimed he was upset after not getting fertilizer for 15 days. Nath added that the state government is busy in the polls, and CM Shivraj claims there is no shortage of fertilizers in Parliament.

Yadav’s family claimed that Yadav, who owned 12 beigas of land, was harassed for fertilizer and was making various rounds daily for supplies.

Serving Congress President Jitu Patwari also sought to find out why the Shivraj government was running out of fertilizers and when things would get better.

For nearly two weeks, there has been a shortage of ammonium phosphate (DAP) in districts including in Gwalior, Shambal and Bundelkhand as farmers queue outside co-operatives all day. Several of these centers reported a riot-like situation and some saw locals looting bags of fertilizer last week. After urea, diphenyl ammonium phosphate is the second most widely used fertilizer in the agricultural sector.

The center blamed high global prices for the fertilizer crisis, while the state maintains that supplies are adequate but there is black marketing of chemical fertilizers.

Urging farmers not to take over law and order, Agriculture Minister Kemal Patel said on Thursday that there are 3.18 thousand metric tons of urea, 31,454 tons of Di-Ammonium Phosphate, 4,590 metric tons of NPK and more stocks on the way to Parliament. Supplies are regularly distributed through government and private outlets.

About 75% of the fertilizers are distributed by state owned cooperative societies and 25% by private sellers in Madhya Pradesh.

The fertilizer in short supply is a double whammy for farmers in states like MP that are already suffering from coal shortages that have made power supply a difficult task amid the busy holiday farming season. Rural areas of Parliament have long complained of long hours of power outages.

With input from Anurag Shrivastava.

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