Fertiliser ministry promises timely supply of farm nutrients

Fertiliser ministry promises timely supply of farm nutrients
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First Published: Fri, Jun 26 2009. 02 28 PM IST
Updated: Fri, Jun 26 2009. 02 28 PM IST
New Delhi: The fertiliser ministry on Friday unveiled its 100 day action plan that promises steps for two major stakeholders -- farmers and the industry -- to ensure “timely availability” of farm nutrients as well as “quick disbursal of subsidy”.
Unveiling the agenda, chemicals and fertiliser minister M.K. Alagiri said, “(The) Fertiliser Monitoring System will be upgraded to ensure timely availability of fertilisers and quick disbursal of subsidy.”
The ministry sees no shortage of fertilisers in southern states, which had complained about the scarcity of farm nutrients last year, saying the supply to such states this time has exceeded demand.
Andhra Pradesh has been provided with 6.18 lakh tonnes of urea between April and June, compared with the demand of 3 lakh tonnes, it said.
Moreover, the ministry’s plan to disburse subsidy without delay is aimed at providing some relief to the cash-starved industry, which has been persistently lobbying for funds from the government to meet the working capital requirement of companies.
The government controls the pricing of key fertilisers and offers funds to companies, called fertiliser subsidy, to compensate them for selling farm nutrients at the rates determined by it. Fertiliser subsidy touched Rs1,17,000 crore for the 2008-09 fiscal.
The ministry also promises to approach the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, seeking an extension of the concession scheme for single super phosphate fertiliser, which is expiring on 30 June. Manufacturers are eligible for a maximum subsidy of Rs 5,630 per tonne of SSP fertiliser instead of the Rs1,125 per tonne offered earlier.
These apart, the agenda talks about exploring various options for reviving eight closed units of Hindustan Fertiliser Corporation Ltd and Fertiliser Corporation of India before 30 August.
Last year, the government had set up an empowered panel with fertiliser secretary Atul Chaturvedi as chairman to come up with models for reviving the eight closed units.
Similarly, the ministry promises to prepare a road map to make sick units of The Fertilisers And Chemicals Travancore Ltd and Madras Fertilizers Ltd financially viable.
Commenting on the availability of gas to fertiliser units from Reliance Industry’s D6 field in the KG basin, a senior fertiliser ministry official said, “We have written to the Petroleum Ministry, expressing our concern (on gas supply). Fertiliser units have been allocated about 15 mmscmd of gas and they will be getting that.”
The fertiliser industry, which was granted the first right over gas from Reliance Industries’ D6 fields, had voiced concern over Anil Ambani-run RNRL getting the maximum gas allocation after the Bombay High Court order and sought firm assurance from the government on uninterrupted supplies.
Speaking about the ministry’s action on ensuring the availability of medicines in the country, he said the government is working towards formulating a new pharma policy for the holistic development of the industry.
The department will work for the revival of Indian Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Ltd and other public sector units.
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First Published: Fri, Jun 26 2009. 02 28 PM IST