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Urea shortage: ‘A conspiracy to destroy Punjab’s agriculture’

“A urea bag that cost Rs850 in November 2010 now costs Rs1,800, he said,” Sirdar Zulfiqar Ali Khosa, senior adviser to the chief minister.

Punjab ministers, on Thursday, lashed out once again at the federal government, this time about Punjab farmers facing a urea shortage.

Sirdar Zulfiqar Ali Khosa, senior adviser to the chief minister; Rana Sanaullah, the law minister; and Malik Ahmad Ali Aulakh, the agriculture minister criticised the federal government in a joint press conference.
Khosa condemned the “failed policies” of the Centre. “A urea bag that cost Rs850 in November 2010 now costs Rs1,800, he said.” He said that farmers were suffering but the Industries ministry was not bothered about them. He accused the federal government of conspiring against the Punjab government. “First they wiped out our industries with power cuts and closure of gas supply. Now they are trying to destroy our agriculture sector by creating an artificial shortage of urea.”
Khosa said that the Punjab government had told the Ministry of Industries on July 15 that it needed 2.4 million tonnes of urea. “We told them that in case there was a gas shortage, they needed to import 700,000 tonnes to 1.2 million tonnes of urea, depending on how severe the gas crisis was, Khosa said. He added that Aulakh and Sanaullah had reminded the federal government of the Punjab government’s demand for urea again during a press conference, “but they did not pay any heed.”
Khosa said that the federal government had only approved the import of 700,000 tonnes of urea, which was less than what was required.
He also alleged that federal government ‘agents’ were planning to overcharge farmers for the urea bags.
“Farmers will be robbed. The federal government should ensure that the urea import and distribution process is transparent. They should also take action against the dealers who overcharge.”                                                                                                  Published in The Express Tribune, November 4th, 2011.


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