Monitoring cell to ensure smooth distribution of fertilizer
To tackle the ongoing fertiliser crisis, the government has constituted a high powered cell to monitor smooth transportation and distribution of fertiliser. Deputy Minister for Industries Abdus Salam Pintu would lead the committee, reports UNB.
Officials said the committee was formed at a meeting chaired by State Minister for Home Affairs Lutfozzaman Babar who claimed adequate stock of fertiliser in government storehouses, attributing transportation problem as the cause of the crisis.
Transport owners and officials of the concerned departments attended the meeting at the Home Ministry that identified the problems with transport, management and distribution as the causes of the fertiliser crisis, which reported hampering paddy cultivation in this peak period of farming.
"We've adequate stock of fertiliser in various storehouses. But the way it was supposed to be distributed did not take place due to transport problems," Babar told reporters after the meeting.
He said some 45,000 tonnes of fertiliser remained in stock in Dhaka alone. Besides, adequate fertilisers are stocked in storehouses at Badamtoli, Kazirhat, Nagarbari and Baghabari. Sufficient amount of fertiliser is also in store in Chittagong.
The state minister said compared with previous year fertiliser smuggling was less this year as BDR, RAB and Coast Guard kept vigil on the smuggling points on the Myanmar border.
He said a monitoring cell headed by the Deputy Minister for Industries would now monitor the transport and distribution of fertiliser. "Tough action will be taken against those who will try to create any artificial crisis," he warned.
BNP MP GM Siraj and Awami League MP Shajahan Khan from transport owners' association, BIWTC Chairman Shimul Biswas, the DIG (Highway), SB chief and representatives of the concerned ministries were present at the meeting.
Shajahan Khan MP said the government should have taken step much earlier to resolve the transport problem as trucks could not be hired at the official rates.
Meanwhile, the meeting sources told the news agency that the BCIC was given the responsibility of appointing carrying contractors, but the contractors did not hire required trucks with a motive to create scope for higher profit and thereby creating the artificial crisis.
Meanwhile, BDNEWS from Jessore adds: The fertiliser crisis in Jessore has eased with extra stocks being made available to meet the strong seasonal demand.
Sources said that only a few days ago there had been long queues of farmers in front of fertiliser selling centres in Jessore. However, now these had disappeared due to the intervention of the Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC).
During the last week some 42 tonnes of fertilisers previously allotted for buffer stocks had been distributed among farmers in order to meet demand created by the IRRI and Boro season.
In addition, following the request of Jessore District Fertiliser Monitoring Committee, two private fertiliser factories in Jessore - Ahad Fertiliser Factory and South Bengal Fertiliser Industry, supplied 5000 and 1000 sacks of urea fertiliser respectively without any profit.
Meanwhile, UNB adds: All is set for importing 25,000 tons of fertiliser shortly to meet a growing demand, as reports said farmers quarrelled with local administrations for the important agricultural input amid short supplies.
In the meantime, the government Monday decided that transportation of fertilisers from stocks at Amin Bazar and Badamtoli in the capital would be started by road from today (Tuesday) to meet the emergencies.
A joint meeting on Monday at the Ministry of Industries took the decisions, according to an official of the ministry.
The fertiliser imports will be in addition to purchase from KAFCO.
Chaired by Deputy Minister for Industries Abdus Salam Pintu, the meeting reviewed fertiliser production, stock and transportation situation.
Present among others were GM Siraj MP, Md Shahjahan Khan, MP, Chairman of BCIC Major General (Retd) Imamuzzaman, BIWTC chairman Shimul Biswas, officials of Home Ministry, Industries Ministry, BCIC and Highway police, leaders of Bangladesh Inter-district Truck Drivers Union, Bangladesh Sarak Paribahan Samity and Dhaka District Truck Owners association.
The meeting was told that sufficient fertiliser has been stocked in the country against existing demand and production in all fertiliser industries under BCIC is going on.
"In this situation, there is no question of fertiliser crisis in the country," the meeting was informed.
The meeting decided that transportation of fertiliser from stocks at Amin Bazar and Badamtoli would be started by road from today (Tuesday).
Terming fertiliser as a sensitive agricultural input, Deputy Minister Abdus Salam said, "The government is "committed to supplying adequate fertilisers to meet farmers' demand at any cost."