SUKKUR: Small dealers and growers organised a protest rally against the ‘artificial’ shortage and black marketing of fertiliser on Monday.
They arranged a sit-in outside the DCO office in Mirpur Mathelo, under the aegis of Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaaz on Monday. Nazir Shaikh, Kamal Mahar, and Sikandar Kalani led the protest from the main bazaar till the DCO’s office. The growers chanted slogans against the district administration and big fertiliser dealers, and held banners and placards. The traffic stopped for an hour because of the protest.
The protesters alleged that big dealers hoard fertiliser and then sell it on the black market at higher price. The price set by the government is Rs1,400 per bag, but the dealers sell it at Rs1,800 to Rs2,000. The growers said that the dealers know that fertiliser is required for the cotton and sugarcane crops and they take advantage of it by creating an artificial shortage.
According to them, the district administration appointed a ‘Mukhtarkar’ — a post for distributing fertiliser to the growers. Despite that, they said that the distribution was not fair. DDO Revenue Mehtab talked to the protestors after which the protest was finished. He assured the protestors of an adequate supply. “An overall shortage of urea is being experienced throughout the district, but the district administration took some positive measures for fair distribution of fertilizer,” said Ghotki EDO Agriculture Riaz Dayo. According to him, Engro Fertilisers Limited issued 10,000 bags which were distributed to the growers at Rs1,400 per bag. The Fauji Fertiliser Company also issued 12,000 bags on Sunday. He agreed that that there is a shortage the steps taken by the district administration are ‘much better’ to help overcome.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 23rd, 2011.