Mahakalapara: Sale of sub-standard fertilizers at exorbitant prices in this block of Kendrapara district has sparked anger among farmers even as they are facing a crop loss due to scanty rainfall, a report said.
Reports said a drought like condition is prevailing in the block due to scanty rainfall. The farmers have planted saplings and were expecting rain to save their crops. However, lack of rain has seriously hit their cultivation. As they are trying to salvage whatever is left on their farmlands, inflated prices of fertilizers have hit them hard.
Farmers alleged that they have purchased Gromor fertilizers from the open market. But it was found to be of sub-standard when they mixed it with water to apply it on their crops. The fertilizer instead of getting dissolved is floating in water which has made them doubt its quality.
Farmers Murali Swain, Subhas Samal, Parikhita Nayak alleged that some unlicensed retail traders sell the fertilizers to farmers under the block at a very high price taking advantage of their innocence. The farmers buy the fertilizers from the retailers but they float on water after they are mixed with water and applied on the farmlands.
They termed it as the handiwork of unscrupulous traders who are out to fleece desperate farmers in the block.
Some traders also allegedly sell fake fertilizers under the names and designs of branded companies and charge prices more than that of the original. As a result, the farmers are deprived of subsidies even if the companies give discounts on fertilizer packets.
Farmers held the agriculture department responsible for their problem. They alleged that farmers had to buy fertilizers at very high prices due to negligence by the department. This has emboldened unscrupulous traders to carry on with their work with impunity.
On the other hand, farmlands under the block are lying uncultivated due to poor rainfall. Farmers said the only way to save their crops is rain due to low pressure. However, the block agriculture officials do not visit the villages and take stock of the cultivation when farmers are fighting hard to save their crops.
Agriculture officials and Krushi Sathis (farm consultants) spend their whole day in office for Balaram Yojana that aims at providing financial help up to Rs 1.6 lakh each to landless farmers. However, getting a loan under the Balaram Yojana is still a far cry for the share-croppers and landless farmers.
They alleged that they neither have land of their own nor money for which the department officials are neglecting and ignoring them. The only beneficiaries are big landowners and influential persons who have grabbed the benefits of the scheme through manipulation. They alleged most of the lower rung officials are involved in fraud.
When contacted, Antarjyami Dhir, block agriculture officer of Marshaghai, said a squad has been formed. The squad members raid fertilizer stores in various areas and collect samples for examination. Action will be taken against store owners if the fertilizer is found to be of sub-standard quality.