Fertilisers are being smuggled across the border: CAG

Fertilisers are being smuggled across the border: CAG

"We found several instances of diversion of fertilisers for non-agricultural purposes as well as smuggling of fertilisers in border districts in the Eastern/North-Eastern states," CAG said in its audit report on Department of Fertilisers.

Citing example, the report said that 548 tonnes of fertilisers worth Rs 1.77 crore were seized by the Border Security Force (BSF) during January to September 2008 at India's border in West Bengal.

Similarly, police in Chandel district of Manipur had seized 93 tonnes of fertilisers while being smuggled to Myanmar in 2008, the report pointed out.

The CAG also expressed concern over the mismatch between demand and supply at grass-root level despite huge amount of subsidy provided by the government.

"There were significant deficiencies in planning of fertiliser supplies with several instances of both over-supply and under-supply at the district and lower levels, with consequential excesses/shortages of required fertilisers at the time when the farmers needed the same," it observed.

The apex auditor has asked the Agriculture Ministry to ensure that the seasonal fertiliser demands are assessed on scientific basis and not merely by adding a specified percentage to last year's consumption.

It has also asked the Chemicals and Fertiliser's Ministry to upgrade the fertiliser quality control infrastructure through setting up of new laboratories and recruitment of qualified staff.

The report said that although the fertilisers subsidy bill has increased to Rs 96,000 crore in 2008-09 from only Rs 11,000 crore in 1998-99, the production has gone up marginally from 269 lakh tonnes to 298 lakh tonnes.

During the same period, imports went up by 236 per cent

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