Farmers at several places in Madhya Pradesh have started protesting over acute shortage of urea during peak Rabi season while the state government has blamed the Centre for the fertilizer crisis.
In Ashoknagar, some farmers had a scuffle over the shortage while in Vidisha, sacks of urea were looted from a truck. At Gadhakota police station in Sagar district, farmers could be seen standing in queues waiting to collect coupons to get urea. Fertilizers are being distributed through police stations due to the ongoing crisis.
Protests were witnessed in cities like Sagar, Sehore, Dewas and Vidisha.
A farmer, Phool Singh, from Kurvai in Vidisha said: "I have come from Kurvai to Vidisha (to get urea), because I did not get it in Kurvai so I am trying my luck in Vidisha. It's been more than a month since I have been trying."
Another farmer, Karan Singh, said: "I am also struggling. The rains caused havoc and now I am forced to hop from one place to another for fertilizers."
The Congress-led state government has blamed the central government, alleging that the annual state quota of fertilizers has been reduced by over 2.5 lakh metric tonnes.
Madhya Pradesh minister for agriculture development Sachin Yadav said: "We had asked for 18 lakh metric tones keeping the increase in acreage after heavy rains but we we were allotted only 15.40 metric tonnes."
He said the state has amended the previous system and tasked the cooperatives to distribute 80 per cent of the fertilizer. "The private sector will supply only 20 per cent. Previously it was 50-50 arrangement and there were complaints of adulteration," the minister added.
Chief Minister Kamal Nath asked the BJP to stop playing politics over urea and said: "We had demanded 18 lakh metric tons of urea from the Centre for Rabi season, but the quota of urea was slashed. This caused problems for the farmers. There may be problems in distribution too, but we are constantly striving for adequate supply of urea."
The opposition BJP, however, dismissed the allegations and charged the government of mismanagement.
Former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said acreage will always increase. "In my time, I had started the fertilizer procuring three months in advance and had given interest on the money that was held for three months. It is all about lack of planning."
Leader of opposition Gopal Bhargav said: "I had a meeting with Union ministers in Delhi, and they said as per records, the state has 27,000 tonnes of urea in stock... Instead of managing urea supplies, the state government is busy managing black-marketing of the fertilizer and spreading lies."