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Farmers worry for fertilizers during peak season in Kalapara

Nation 2023-09-19, 12:45am


Urea fertilier

Patuakhali: Farmers are not getting fertilizer at a fair price in Kalapara of Patuakhali despite the government's policies to ensure availability of fertilizers to the farmers. Fertilizers are being sold at exorbitant prices under the control of syndicates. As a result, the fear of the farmers about the fertilizer in the full season of cultivation is not reduced.

Apart from this, due to the lack of supervision after removing the fertilizer from BCIC's buffer warehouse and BADC's warehouse, fertilizer is going from one upazila to another district, upazila without valid documents. In this, although the farmers did not get the fertilizer bought with government subsidy at the fixed price, in the last few years, some fertilizer dealers, officials of the agriculture department have become owners of money outside the known income.-Information from reliable sources.

However, according to the local agriculture department, there is no concern about fertilizers. Farmers are getting fertilizer at fixed price. And the buffer warehouse in charge of BCIC and the store keeper of BADC get the demand, allotment letter, pay order invoice and fertilizer is given to the dealers from the warehouse. Which supervision is the responsibility of Agriculture Office and Fertilizer-Seed Monitoring Committee.

According to sources, Deputy Assistant Agriculture Officer Abdur Rahman has joined at Kalapara Agriculture Office on 20 September 2006. As he has been working in the same workplace for long days, he has formed a fertilizer syndicate with dealers. He is controlling the syndicate with Zakir Khan, owner of BCIC fertilizer dealer Khan Traders, in the management of Agriculture Office, District Khamarbari, Fertilizer-Seed Monitoring Committee. A savings account No. 321011100122058 has been opened in the name of the syndicate at the local Uttara Bank branch. Which is managed by the syndicate under the direction of Rahman. Since the syndicate's transaction information was leaked through Uttara Bank then liquid Cash transaction used.

The source also said that although Khan Traders has been doing fertilizer business for a long time by renting the license of several BCIC fertilizer dealers of the upazila on an annual basis, according to the information of the Agriculture Office, the fertilizer has been extracted and sold by the license holders themselves. After that, in the financial year 2019-20, the appointment of 7 new dealers of BCIC including Khan Traders was leaked, but everything was under the control of the syndicate, even though information about the secret relationship of Khan Traders with outgoing agriculture officer Abdul Mannan was leaked. Instead of justice Abdul Mannan took the rewarded transfer after getting promotion. After the new agriculture officer ARM Saifullah joined Kalapara, the syndicate became more reckless. Earlier, two sub-assistant agricultural officers of Kalapara Agriculture Office and fertilizer dealers were registered in the fertilizer scam, but they evaded the law.

According to sources, BCIC has 14 dealers in Kalapara. There are 118 cardholder retailers. According to government guidelines, there is a rule to sell at the rate of Tk 27 per kg urea fertilizer, TSP 27, DAP 21 and MOP 20 per kg to farmers, but the farmer has to buy fertilizer at the rate of Tk 28-30 per kg. Although BCIC dealers have instructions to sell fertilizers at a fair price, no one is following the rules. Per gunny bags Urea Fertilizer is being sold at Tk 1400-1450 instead of official price of Tk 1350, DAP Fertilizer is being sold at Tk 1350 instead of TK 1050 and TSP Fertilizer is being sold at Tk 1900 instead of Tk 1350. BCIC's dealers, including retailers, are also stocking up fertilizers bought from legitimate, illegal sources.

According to the investigation, due to low demand of fertilizers in Rabi season, the urea fertilizers allotted to the dealers are sold to the middlemen at high prices after lifting from Barisal BCIC buffer warehouse and TSP, MOP and DAP fertilizers from Barguna BADC warehouse.

Meanwhile, journalists want information from the agriculture office to verify the information of such complaints Deputy Assistant Agriculture Officer Abdur Rahman scolded the journalists with disrespectful behavior and asked them to apply under the Right to Information Act. But even after making a written application, the resolution copy and allocation letter of last 5 years Fertilizer and Seed Monitoring Committee meeting, copy of challan of fertilizer removal from warehouse, transport cost voucher, report of arrival of fertilizer at dealer warehouse, information regarding distribution and sale among retail dealers were not found. The matter was informed to the member secretary of the district fertilizer and seed monitoring committee along with the president of the upazila fertilizer and seed monitoring committee but there was no result.

The investigation further revealed that Rashid Khan, proprietor of Mizan Traders, a retail fertilizer dealer in Mahipur Union, died several years ago. Since then his license allocation is exempted every month. Middlemen Rubel, Shahid Musulli, Bashir Molla, Jahangir Musulli have been doing fertilizer business for a long time by taking the license of retail dealers Rashid Sardar, Ashrafuzzaman Babu, Riaz Morshed, Julhas Khan Jalal for Tk 1 lakh in advance and monthly rent of Latachapli Union. This picture is everywhere in the upazila. After died Ratan Talukder in February this year, BCIC fertilizer dealer of Latachapli Union, upazila agriculture officer ARM Saifullah gave the fertilizer to the Khan Traders of the municipality instead of giving it to the dealers of neighboring unions as per the policy. But there are 3740 hectares of arable land in Latachapli, 3895 hectares in Nilganj.

Yunus, a farmer of Natunpara village of Dhulasar union of the upazila, said, 'I bought one bag of white urea from the market for 1400 taka, DAP for 1300 taka, TSP for 1900 taka, 1 kg of Fatara medicine for 308 taka and one stop for 100 grams of medicine for 340 taka.I did not get a cash memo even ask for.' 

Md. Shahe Alam Gazi, buffer warehouse in charge of BCIC, said, 'Fertilizers are given to the dealers from the warehouse after receiving the allocation letter of the fertilizer and seed committee, pay order invoice. Dealers are given a collection invoice from the warehouse after collecting the fertilizer. BADC's warehouse in-charge Mst. Laiju Begum could not be reached despite several attempts on the phone. However, store keeper Md. Zahid said, 'We have no responsibility if there is any kind of irregularity with fertilizer outside the warehouse gate.'  

Upazila Agriculture Officer ARM Saifullah said that there is no crisis of fertilizer anywhere. Allotment of 1242 metric tons of urea fertilizer for the month of August has been lifted by the dealers. 1178 metric tons of fertilizer is allocated in September. Action will be taken against anyone who commits irregularities with fertilizer. 

President of Upazila Fertilizer and Seed Monitoring Committee, Kalapara UNO Md. Jahangir Hossain said, 'In the last 6 months, the Agriculture Office has held only one meeting of the Fertilizer and Seed Monitoring Committee. They didn't inform me anything about the fertilizer scheme. UP secretaries have been appointed as tag officers to supervise the sale of fertilizer in the committee meeting.' - Gofran Biswas Palash