Ramakanta Biswas

Keonjhar: Severe shortage of fertiliser at the height of the paddy growing season has hit the farmers hard in Keonjhar district, prompting them to gather in huge numbers at local cooperative offices in the times of Covid-19 pandemic.

About 5000 farmers were seen gathering at Telkoi Large Area Multi-Purpose Societies (LAMPS) to collect fertiliser, throwing the Covid safety norms to the winds. While the social distancing norms were not followed, most of the frantic farmers did not even have face marks.

As there was shortage of stock, one packet of fertiliser was given to each farmer irrespective of their needs. Due to the unprecedented crowd, police personnel were called in to control the situation.

The farmers alleged that they are forced to buy fertiliser at an expensive rate from the open market due to shortage of stock in the LAMPS.

Hatakishore Sahu, a farmer said, “About 500 packets of fertiliser have arrived at the LAMPS, but the number of farmers is much more. Earlier, we struggled to sell our paddy and now we are grappling with fertiliser shortage. How will we survive?”

“LAMPS are unable to supply the amount of fertiliser we are supposed to get from the government. We are making frequent trips to the office, but authorities always come up with answer that they have run out of fertiliser stocks. Why the LAMPs are not procuring enough supply so that the farmers will not suffer,” said another farmer, Nilamani Nayak.

Telkoi LAMPS officer, Keshab Sahoo clarified, “Last year we had a requirement of 2500 quintals of urea fertiliser, but this year we sought 4000 quintals apprehending that more people might tend to cultivation works due to Covid pandemic. However, 1209 quintals have reached here so far. As the availability of stock is low, more farmers have been left out but they are reluctant to understand the situation.”

(Edited By Suryakant Jena)

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