Hyderabad: Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao swung into action on Friday to come to the rescue of farmers in the State, and arranged for 25 special goods trains and about 4,000 lorries to transport 1.5 lakh tonne of urea lying in various ports in Andhra Pradesh as well as in New Mangalore port in Karnataka..
With demand for urea witnessing an unprecedented escalation in the State following substantial increase in cultivation area, the Chief Minister, who held a high-level meeting at Pragathi Bhavan to take stock of the situation, initiated measures to ensure adequate supply of urea to the districts in the next three-four days. “Farmers should not be kept waiting for urea,” Chandrashekhar Rao asserted, even as he spoke to SCR officials and AP Transport Minister Perni Nani (Venkataramaiah) seeking their cooperation in transporting the urea. The Chief Minister observed that about 1.15 lakh tonne of urea ordered by the State was lying in the ports of Visakhapatnam, Gangavaram, Kakinada, Krishnapatnam and New Mangalore, due to lack of transportation. He contacted South Central Railway chief operations manager Sivaprasad and chief fleet traffic manager Nagaiah who in turn agreed to arrange for about 25 rakes on Friday itself to transport urea stocks from various ports to the State. About 60,000 tonnes of area is expected to reach the State in the next three-four days. Officials informed the Chief Minister that 1.15 lakh tonne of urea from IDL, IFFCO, KRIBHCO and NFL had reached Visakhapatnam, Kakinada, Gangavaram, Krishnapatnam, New Mangalore ports. Chandrashekhar Rao instructed the officials concerned to transport the urea requirements directly from the ports to railway stations in towns and cities including Jagitial, Mancherial, Adilabad, Peddapalli, Warangal, Mahabubnagar, Karimnagar, Khammam, Kothagudem, Jadcherla, and others. Each rake can transport about 2,600 tonnes of urea. The Chief Minister also spoke to Perni Nani over phone and sought his cooperation in deploying as many lorries as possible to transport urea from Gangavaram port in Andhra Pradesh. The AP Minister responded positively and directed the Andhra Pradesh officials to make necessary arrangements in this regard. The agriculture officials of Telangana State have been instructed to prepare indents including required urea to be transported directly to villages instead of transporting them to stock points. “Each railway station must have an agriculture officer to coordinate and ensure transportation of urea to villages at the earliest. There cannot be any delay as there is an increasing demand from farmers,” he said. Besides, he also directed that on agriculture officer should be deputed at each port to ensure that urea is loaded quickly on the goods trains. He directed the officials to ensure that urea is not hoarded and its prices are not hiked taking advantage of the situation. He also warned traders against indulging in such practices. Officials attributed the short supply of urea and other fertilizers to the Centre’s decision to implement Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) system to provide monetary support to farmers to purchase fertilizer directly. As a result, private companies and traders did not purchase adequate quantities of various fertilizers. Further, farmers in Telangana State used an average of six lakh tonnes of urea in the the last four years, but due to increase in cultivation area this year, the same amount of stock was consumed in August itself resulting in sudden shortage. The delay was also attributed to lack of adequate transport facility from the ports. Chandrashekhar Rao directed Agriculture Minister S Niranjan Reddy and Transport Minister Vemula Prashanth Reddy to monitor the urea transportation and supply from Pragathi Bhavan itself. They have been instructed to coordinate with the fertilizer companies and lorry owners associations, as well as railway and port officials concerned, to expedite urea supply to farmers. both the ministers are having discussions with the railway officials, various Companies, AP State Officials. Ministers Niranjan Reddy, Prashanth Reddy, Government Chief Advisor Rajiv Sharma, principal secretaries S Narsing Rao (CMO), C Parthasarathi (Agriculture), Sunil Sharma (Transport), Agriculture Commissioner Rahul Bojja, Government Chief Whip Palla Rajeshwar Reddy, Rajya Sabha MP J Santosh Kumar and Vikarabad MLA Anand, were present at the meeting..